Admiration for first responders

Published 6:56 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

I’m sitting at my desk thinking of a topic for this week’s column and listening to chatter on the police scanner we have in our office.

It’s an amazing thing, that black box with its digital display and buttons and knobs, for through its speaker comes information about ambulance calls, law enforcement calls, wrecks, shootings and fires. Sometimes if we’re lucky, we’ll pickup transmissions from Hinds County, Pike County and other area law enforcement agencies, since we’re monitoring the statewide radio band.

We can tell when a medical call comes across by the different tones played in advance. We also get severe weather warnings when the storms threaten. And we get to learn a little about human nature as well.

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It is surprising, the calls we hear. People will call for an ambulance for a number of things from “not feeling well,” to chest pains and strokes. Many calls are for injuries like cuts and sprains and fractures; things that I remember having as a child and being put in the back of the car and hauled to the emergency room or that emergency appointment to the doctor. Some injuries were taken care of at home, my mother being a nurse and having a stocked medicine cabinet to take care of the scrapes, cuts, sprains and strains of three very active children.

We’ve heard parents call police officers to come talk to their children who refuse to go to bed at night, I guess hoping the appearance of someone with a badge and gun will convince the child to get under the covers and go to sleep. My parents, as I’m sure the parents of others my age, didn’t need to call the police to get us to go to bed at night. And while it may have been a struggle sometimes to get us up in the morning, they didn’t need help from the man with the badge to get us up. That was done in more inventive ways.

Now I’m not trying to criticize anyone for calling for emergency help, and I’m sure they believe their needs are very real, and may in fact be.

But I have to wonder sometimes if many of these calls to our first responders could be avoided if people just took a moment to think about what they’re doing and tried more to help themselves and resolve their problems.

We all have those times when we realize we don’t have the answers or the skills to handle a situation. There were times my mother would examine my injury or my sister’s or brother’s and realized it was emergency room time and put us in the car for the trip to one of the local hospitals.

Listening to the scanner and talking with first responders has made me realize they have a very difficult job because they never know what they may face or what type of reception they receive when they arrive at a call.

They have my respect and admiration.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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