Valdosta Daily Times

June 24, 2013

Thank you, firefighters

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — The Valdosta Fire Department held a graduation ceremony late last week that welcomed seven new firefighters while promoting three veteran firefighters.

During the ceremony, Valdosta Fire Chief J.D. Rice spoke of the grueling conditions of firefighter training. “These recruits are put through training Monday through Friday, eight hours a day,” Rice said. “There’s a lot entailed in becoming a firefighter.”

As firefighters, they will continue to face often strenuous circumstances. The chief noted that extinguishing fires is only about 10 percent of a firefighter’s job. They also provide first aid to injuries on calls, with the knowledge to properly treat the injured until further medical help           arrives.

In that 10 percent of fighting blazes, firefighters will wear thick, protective gear yearround. Imagine wearing a winter coat outside during one of South Georgia’s summer days, then carry heavy gear, wearing a helmet, often with a face mask, then add the heat of a fully involved fire to the climate’s high temperatures ... that’s what our firefighters face every time they step into a burning building.

And that’s only the heat. Firefighters risk their lives entering volatile scenes. There’s truth to that old saying: They run into situations that prompt others to run away.

In today’s editions, readers should find the story that names these new firefighters and the ones who have earned promotions. If you see these folks, or any area firefighter, take a minute to say thank you. A small gesture, but a well-deserved one, for the men and women who risk their lives to save our property, to save our lives.