Serving the community

Today is yet another hot, sunny day in the uk. In my time as an emergency worker, I was mostly based in a small town near the sea. Day shift on days like this often involved “community standby”. If we were unbusy (it’s very unlucky to use the “q” word within the emergency services!) we would sometimes head into the town centre and sit somewhere on standby. It was, of course, important to be a visible presence, a comfort to the people in the community. The fact it often involved ice cream too was purely coincidental…

The painful downside to this was the “standby” part. Many a seagull benefited from the inevitable 999 call that hit our screen halfway through munching. The ear-squirming noise the system made each time a job came onscreen seemed to attract the birds in the know, and they’d hover in wait as the crew swore and placed the remains of their treat on the nearest bin for the scavengers to fight over.

So, if you see an emergency vehicle on community standby, spare a thought for the crew who have to work, often in hot and sweaty situations. Don’t complain because they are taking time out to relax from the stress (you don’t know what they have been through, or might go through that day) . There’s a good chance they’ll not be there for long before a job comes in, and it’s pretty definite that they won’t get a chance to finish their ice creams. Smile at them and let them know they’re appreciated 🙂

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