Webster shooting highlights the dangers all first responders face
Tue, 25 Dec 2012 23:04:07 GMT —
The Cicero Fire Department has responded to a thousand calls in 2012. Every one was handled by volunteers - 70 men and women who are willing to go into dangerous situations at any hour of the day or night. Firefighters are often the first on the scene emergency scenes and the tragedy in Webster has added another potential threat to a long list of dangers first responders already face.
"Now on top of everything else that we've got to think about, we've got to think - is somebody there willing to hurt myself as a first responder or the other fire department members or the police officers that arrived with us?" said Cicero Fire Chief Jon Barrett.
"My wife, we were talking about it at home. First thing she said was, now I have to worry about you getting shot on calls? you wouldn't think that stuff is going on here but Rochester is not to far away," said Lt. Jim Perrin.
For many firefighters in Upstate New York and across the country, listening to audio of a wounded Webster firefighter warning others about the the shooting scene was especially chilling.
"10 hours later listening to this audio and it still strikes me - this could be my brother, that could be my sister on that call tomorrow," said Lt. George Barrett.
The Cicero Fire Department motto is "Fear is Not an Option." Firefighters are not letting the tragedy that took place in Webster hold them back but they are acknowledging there are additional dangers they need to prepare for.
Cicero police respond alongside the fire department on almost all calls and the fire chief says the strong relationship between the departments will help in the weeks and months ahead. The Webster shooting raises new concerns but firefighters say they will continue doing what it takes to keep their neighbors safe.
"There's going to be more training on safety and awareness of these scenes although some of this stuff - I don't think there's anything you could prepare for. I don't know if we can train to anticipate gunfire upon getting off the truck," said Lt. Jim Meyers.
If anything, firefighters in Cicero said they hope the tragedy in Webster encourages people know more about the dangers all first responders face and what it takes to protect a community.