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Our Lives in Their Hands

Wed, 09/04/2019 - 12:33

The pace of life slows now that it is September, and perhaps no one feels this more acutely than the East End’s fire, police, and emergency responders. So it seems only right to offer a tip of the cap to the professionals and volunteers who answer the call at any time of day or night even as the population of residents and day-trippers doubles and then doubles again then returns to normal after Labor Day.

What many may not know is how much behind-the-scenes effort goes into getting that ambulance, fire department, or police officer to a crisis scene. Training, particularly for emergency medical technicians, is ongoing and intense. On top of that, E.M.T. volunteers are assigned “squad nights,” when they are expected to answer the call of duty, no matter what.

Courses for basic E.M.T. certification stretch over months and more than 150 hours. Recertification in an additional 65-hour course is required every three years. A routine run to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital can eat up several hours, including the return trip, then cleaning and restocking the ambulance.

Many days are spent at the police academy, and the first hurdles to becoming a basic firefighter can include more than 100 hours. Would-be firemen and women face a heavy workload of classroom and online courses, hands-on training, and fitness evaluations, as well as departmental rules briefings.

These levels of commitment make sense, considering that our tireless neighbors, family members, and friends quite literally have our lives in their hands.

Here’s to them, and a sincere wish that they have a little time, too, to put their feet up for some well-deserved rest this fall.


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