Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Being thankful

When you join the fire service, you become a part of several traditions. During the season of Thanksgiving, my fire company has a tradition of having breakfast at the firehouse to celebrate the holiday before we spend the day with our families. It’s a chance to gather with our brothers and sisters. I’m thankful to have them in my life.

Our Thanksgiving breakfast is about enjoying the little things. We enjoy the company of others. We have breakfast with the crew that we see often which adds to our friendship. We also catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while. I experienced that same friendliness with new people when I worked on Thanksgiving after I left the firehouse.

I work every Thanksgiving because it’s a fun holiday to interview strangers about their day and then write a story about their role in serving or being served at a Thanksgiving community dinner event. It began as a tradition for people who have lost their family members or do not have family local. This gave them a place to go to share a meal with other community members.

Every reporter loves telling someone’s story. Sometimes we learn that we have a similar story as someone else despite taking different paths.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Serving as a first generation firefighter

Some firefighters come from a family of firefighters while others like me are the first in their family to join the fire service.

My family said little when I told them I decided to become a volunteer firefighter. I imagined that they heard me talk about helping others, but that they also interpreted my aspiration as, “I’d risk my life to run into burning buildings.” Wanting to experience a new physical challenge, I found my calling in the fire service. I hoped my family would be supportive of my decision, despite if they understood it.

My fire company family supported us while we attended fire school at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center. They wanted to see us succeed and we can apply on scene what we learned. The officers and firefighters asked about our progress in school. When asked, they helped us review skills by practicing how to do certain tasks, such as opening a hydrant to establish a water supply, performing a search and rescue, and how to operate our SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus).

Having the support of fellow firefighters came as no surprise. They understand because they live it. I also wanted my family to show support of my new-found passion, even when that’s not easy for them. Just like any family, they are afraid that we could get hurt or worse.
 
Ginger Rae Dunbar serves as a first generation firefighter. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Narcan can save lives

Sometimes the worst thing you could do is nothing. That applies when someone is in cardiac arrest, as well as an opioid overdose. The best thing you should do is call for help.

Naloxone, also known by its brand-name Narcan, is an over-the-counter drug that temporarily reverses the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Naloxone does not work on someone without a heartbeat. For someone in cardiac arrest, call 911 then perform CPR.

Opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths nationwide in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delaware County recorded 52 heroin-related deaths and Chester County recorded 66 that year. Police officers in both counties carry Narcan.

The more that the opioid epidemic and Narcan saves are reported on, the more awareness can be raised. According to the American Addiction Centers, three commonly prescribed opioid medications are Vicodin, OxyContin and morphine.

Following a car accident, one of my friends had been prescribed OxyContin. Mindful of drug addictions of a strong medication, my friend took half a pill. When I checked on her, she admitted she felt good with the pain gone. She understood why people become addicted.