The deaths of the two North Memorial medical responders in a helicopter crash the other day, brought back to me memories of other first responders I have known in my years in the fire service. All to often the public hears and reads about such events but do they really know how it feels to their comrades when someone answers that last call. How sobering it must have been for the first responders and the paramedics who had to go to that crushed helicopter, in an effort to help their own and find it out it was to late.

We put a high value on human lives in public safety. High enough, that there are those who are willing to risk their own lives time and again to save others lives. For them it’s not just for one battle or one war or a few years but for many of them it’s a career and a way of life. Leaders in public safety try to make it as risk free as they can but inevitably accidents happen and lives of the rescuers who came to help the victims are lost and they too become the victims. These people aren’t just nurses, paramedics and pilots. They are moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and friends to many. They knew the risks when they took the job, yet it was important to them to be that life link between the patient and the hospital.

When you are critically sick or hurt the best doctors and nurses in the world are not going to save your life, unless someone gets you to them with a heartbeat. Many of the life saving battles that are won, started in the back of a bouncing ambulance, with the efforts of these unsung heroes.

Mike Holst