Leighlyn and I were downtown this evening when the fire whistle went off. Personal vehicles with flashing lights and sirens seemed to appear out of nowhere and rush to the fire barn where the volunteers would don VERY heavy rubber suits, hats, boots, etc and board the four fire trucks and speed to wherever the latest emergency was. (In this case, it looked like they were headed for Southern Wichita County. Wheat harvest is off to a flying start around here. It seems that during that time around here, several fires are activated in fields every year. Firemen were dispatched to two field fires in Wichita and Greeley County one afternoon last week.) Anyway, just a very few minutes after the firefighters received their call, they were loaded up and headed to the fire.
A strong sense of pride and admiration came over me as I watched all of these courageous men who left the COOL comfort of their homes with their families to go out and try to stop a fire from doing major harm to property, people or animals. Wichita County is blessed with an outstanding group of men and women who are there in our time of need whether it be fire, accident or some other health emergency. These people awaken from sound sleep some nights and are at the fire barn within 5 minutes ready to do whatever is necessary. The services that they provide is totally amazing! There isn't a single person on our crew who I wouldn' trust my life with.
Each and every single firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician undergoes many hours worth of training each and every year so that they are updated on the latest and greatest techniques available. Most counties in the state of Kansas receive moneies for their time that is spent saving lives, etc. That isn't the case in Wichita County. Each person is strictly a volunteer. If you require the services of am ambulance in Wichita County, you can rely on superb care AND you will not pay a single penny for the care that you receive! Other counties will bill you for the time and use of equipment during the time of your need.
My brudder-in-law, Leif Christensen, has been a part of the fire department for several years now. He loves being able to make a difference in people's lives! Our nephew, Hunter Carson, Rob and Lona Sue's son, idealizes his Uncle Leif and is following in his footsteps Later this summer, he will begin his service in emergency medical services in Garden City. We couldn't be any prouder of him!!!
Something else that happened this evening that made me VERY proud was how our local citizens who were in their vehicles handled this situation. Of course, it is Kansas state law that drivers pull to the side of the road so that emergency personnel can get to the "scene" as quickly and safely as possible. IF the citizens bother to pull over in other counties, they usually get right back out on the road again as soon as that particular vehicle passes them. Not in Leoti. Tonight, I counted seven vehicles that pulled to the side of 4th Street and stayed put until ALL vehicles had exited the fire barn and were enroute to the scene of the emergency. That says a lot for our locals, don't ya' think???
Anyway, thank you to the Wichita County Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services for all of the tremendous work that you do for all of us!!! For any of us who have health issues, we sleep better at night knowing that if we need you, you'll be at our side within a very few minutes after we ask for help...