2018-02-21 / Editorial

We salute county’s emergency services

Lapeer County’s emergency services personnel were honored Saturday evening. A look around the big room at the Lapeer Country Club found many police officers, ambulance crews, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, McLaren Lapeer emergency and trauma personnel in suits and beautiful dresses.

The occasion was the first-ever Lapeer County Emergency Services Gala, and gathered for an evening of dinner and dancing, and hanging out were frontline emergency people from throughout county. They looked good outside of their usual street uniforms, and by all accounts had a wonderful evening.

Good for them, they deserved it.

They deserved a fun night out in the company of their peers, who along with their spouses and significant others, can appreciate better than anyone else the level of stress and danger they often put themselves in while in the line of duty. There’s no such thing as a “routine” traffic stop, a domestic call, a vehicle accident or a house fire.

Local emergency personnel may have responded to hundreds, if not thousands, of such calls during their career but every dispatch or response is unique and they must be alert to their surroundings as situations can go from bad to worse in a split second.

Mary Piorunek, the director at Lapeer County Emergency Management, and Betsy Felton, the director of Emergency Services, Women Services, and Ortho at McLaren Lapeer Region, were pivotal in organizing the first ever EMS Gala to recognize our hometown heroes.

We commend Piorunek and Felton for putting together the Gala, and we extend our gratitude in recognition of the county’s emergency services personnel who are called to our aid generally when we’re having a very bad day.

The 911 dispatch call may be for a domestic assault, a serious-injury vehicular accident, a suicide attempt, a heroin or opioid overdose, a house fire, a heart attack or stroke, a break-in, or any number of other emergency situations.

Due to their efficiency and high degree of training, it’s probably safe to assume most people probably take emergency personnel for granted. Not that people don’t appreciate them, but rather that they expect when they call 911 that the appropriate emergency help is on the way. The public doesn’t pay attention whether the police uniform is dark blue, white or brown, or what colors and name is on the side of the ambulance of fire truck in their driveway or on the side of the road — they just assume the help on hand is professional and well skilled at what they do.

And they would be correct.

Lapeer County is served by a small army of emergency first responders, including volunteer firefighters and medical first responders who get up in the middle of the night or leave their place of business during a workday to respond to a call for help. It’s what they do, and they do it well.

Continued training is a regular part of life for Lapeer County’s emergency personnel. They do it to remain certified and to learn new field techniques, so that when they’re called to respond to an emergency they’re as well prepared as they can be for what they may find on the other end.

We all hope Lapeer County will never experience a mass shooting tragedy like our nation experienced last week in Parkland, Fla. But if the unthinkable occurs, it’s reassuring that our emergency first responders have trained for such an incident and will respond as a unified and tight unit that knows the other personnel will have their back.

The truth is, Lapeer County’s emergency services personnel have our back. Many are volunteers, and take time away from their families and places of work, and often at their own expense, to train to be the best at what they do.

We salute our first responders. Thank you for your service, and thank you for your sacrifice.

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