In praise of public safety workers

By on January 25, 2013

In March 2011, Nags Head Fire Chief Kevin Zorc gave the Voice a front row seat to the training fire at the old Windmill Point restaurant.

We were able to capture some dramatic video and photographs as the fire spread and emergency crews in full gear entered the building.

But the more interesting aspects of the training took place at the various command posts.

Fire departments, EMS personnel and police were on hand from close to a dozen different departments that serve Dare County.

And while many have called for the unification of public safety services county-wide, it was apparent from listening to the on-site command center communicate with these various fire and police units that the groups worked as if they trained together every day.

The last few months, and sadly, the last few weeks in particular have brought about situations which required these units to come together in real-life tragedies.

The Nags Head fire at the Ark Ineternational Church, the Seven C’s condo fire in Kill Devil Hills, the downed aircraft in the Croatan Sound last Sunday and a house fire in Duck all brought various fire, police and EMS units together, including federal agencies.

We’ve also seen in the recent past the wildfire in the Stumpy Point region and the massive three-house fire at Pine Island, disasters that brought together emergency personnel from across state and county lines.

Each event should cause Dare and Currituck County residents to feel very proud and secure where our emergency agencies are concerned.

Witnessing all of them revealed not only the courage exhibited by these men and women, but also their professionalism.

It is apparent that our local fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies work well together and that the old adage, “practice makes perfect” has exhibited itself time and time again as these disasters manifest themselves.

Firefighters get up close and personal with the infernos. Police officers reroute traffic on busy roads while drivers gawk at the disaster instead of paying attention.

Divers entered cold and murky water to search for a plane where more danger would be present as they explored the wreckage. Search boats and helicopters navigated thick fog to rescue one passenger of that ill-fated flight and search for the missing pilot and aircraft.

We should all stop to thank these men and women not only for their work, but for their practice and training — those extra, often unpaid hours that pay off when we need them most.

And so, on behalf of the citizens of Dare and Currituck County — thank you. And also know we are thankful that each of you return safely to your homes and families when the mission is complete.

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