Emma M. Virginia

First Responder Courage

There has been a large spike in the amount of line of duty deaths across the country.

Dear President,

I would like to call your attention to an issue that I hold a very strong personal connection to. I live in a county where there are more volunteers in the fire service than there are paid individuals. People spend nine months in school to be a certified volunteer fireman and/or EMT. Classes are held every weekend and several nights during the week for the entire duration of the nine month course. My parents are both volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians at our local fire department where they go out on calls that no one would want to handle. I worry about them the entire time they are away on a long shift. I have also just completed my class to become a certified EMT. A substantial amount of people choose to give up their time and social activities to serve and protect our community. These people, along with my parents, are selfless and compassionate about the lives of others which shouldn’t go unnoticed. There has been a large spike in the number of line of duty deaths around the country compared to previous years. I find this to be concerning because they are people just like those we count on as blessings in our own communities when we are in a time of need.

On the tragic day of September 11, 2001, thousands of fearless men and women first responders died trying to save the lives of many. Those who did survive the devastation were scarred for life. There was not enough air treatment or protection equipment to be given to all responders who arrived at the World Trade Center that day to do their job. More than thirty seven thousand first responders and survivors have been diagnosed as having respiratory illnesses due to the debri in the air that awful day. Many also have been diagnosed with PTSD and other forms of mental illnesses. Those who didn’t survive that day left behind families and friends who are forever burdened by the loss of a loved one. The past cannot be changed, but we can always make changes for the future and create support for the families who lose a loved one in the line of duty.

The National Fire Protection Agency created a set of statistics for line of duty deaths in the fire service this past year in 2015. “Over half the line of duty deaths (fifty-nine percent) were caused by overexertion and stress.” This line of work requires a special person with a big heart to be able to withstand some of the horrors faced. These men and women should not have to deal with this stress on their own. We need grief counseling available at all hours when support is needed most and we need our communities to rally together with open arms for all responders. EMS1 is a website that covers all leading medicals stories as well as compiling a list of any and all line of duty deaths across the nation. A paramedic in New Jersey died after giving CPR to a patient that went into cardiac arrest. People who sign up for this job sacrifice their own lives for complete strangers, but we forget about the families. The families are the ones left behind to grieve after receiving the news of a loved one dying trying to save the life of another. Financial support should be made available for these families until their accommodations can be made.

I understand that running an entire country can be highly stressful, but don’t forget about the ones serving the country. Firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and many more all join forces so that you can sleep soundly at night. In return for their service and dedication, do them a favor and protect them by doing whatever you can. Provide support, funding for equipment, and fund programs that will continue to educate the children of our country to understand and appreciate what these men and women do. Help those who help others in communities all around this great country we get to call home.


Emma M.

Works Cited Page

Bastasch, Michael. “Reports of 9/11 Responders Dying of Cancer Are More Complicated Than You Think.” The Daily Caller. 11 September 2016. Web. 17 October 2016.

Fahy, Rita. “Firefighter Fatalities in the US.” National Fire Protection Association. June 2016. Web. 17 October 2016.

EMS1. “Line of Duty Deaths.” EMS1.com. Web. 17 October 2016. 

James Wood High School

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