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Making us all safer

It was a rainy, slightly chilly night in Washington on Monday — not a very nice night to be out and about.

But that didn’t stop 75 local firefighters from completing the task laid out before them. The 10 departments participating in Monday’s water shuttle training weren’t about to let a little mist get in the way.

For close to four hours, participants practiced hauling water from fill sites to a dump site, with a goal of keeping a steady stream flowing through the pumpers on site.

In a real life situation, that critical water supply could be the difference between controlling a fire and a monumental disaster. In an extreme situation, it could mean the difference between life and death, or between minimal property damage and a total loss.

Some of the personnel participating were paid to be there. Others were volunteers. But that distinction isn’t important when the rubber meets the road. The fact is all of our local firefighters and first responders have a heart for serving and protecting their communities.

The organizers were under no obligation to put on this training. Most of the participants were under no obligation to attend. But the fact that so many cared enough to take part in this training says something of the dedication our local first responders.

They don’t do it for the heroism or the glory. They don’t do it for the money or the perks. They do it because they want to protect others. One young firefighter, in a recent interview, perhaps put it best:

“Everyone’s goal within the fire service should be to leave it better than you found it. That’s kind of the mentality of the fire service — you should be striving to better yourself so you can better your department and better your community as a whole. You should always be striving to learn more.”

To our brave men and women of the local fire service, thank you for your willingness to give of yourselves to keep your fellow citizens safe. You truly are some of the best among us, and we salute you.