Tomorrow is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. To honor and remember those who helped and those we lost on that day, I wanted to give my week 2 donation to a firefighter and focus my blog on the great work they do. However, making this gift was not very easy. In fact, not possible.
I went to Omaha Fire Department station 53 at 80th & Dodge Street today and spent some time with the captain (he was reluctant to have me use his name). He said that they are not allowed to accept gifts, for themselves or for the department. That seems unfortunate, but I still asked the captain some questions.
Station 53 is staffed by 4 personnel at all times, which has been a topic of a little controversy in Omaha. The OFD website states, “By staffing a minimum of 4 Firefighters per apparatus, the first arriving OFD engine company can immediately initiate a proper interior fire attack.” 55 members of the Omaha Fire Department have made the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of Omaha. Since 1996, the Omaha Fire Department has not had a fire related Line of Duty Death. The Minimum Staffing Ordinance was created to ensure the safety of Omaha’s citizens and Firefighters.
The mission of the Omaha Fire & Rescue Department is to provide fire, rescue, emergency medical and support services to all citizens and visitors in the Omaha Metropolitan area. Omaha Firefighters have taken an oath to protect lives and property of the citizens they serve.
Firefighters work a 24 hour shift…24 hours on, 24 off for 5 out of 10 days. Then they get 5 days off in a row. Thus, three shifts or teams work a station.
The captain said that they have an average of 9 calls per day.
All of us remember where we were on 9/11/2001. The captain was in his 2nd year with the Department and was working at station 22, north of Omaha’s Eppley Airport. He recalls the immediate “lock-down” of the station and the department being placed on “alert”.
To fulfill my weekly gift, I made a $50 gift to The First Responders Critical Support Foundation. Their mission is to provide support to Omaha area “first responders” and promote a better understanding of their value to our citizens and community. Their website is: http://fireandpoliceappreciation.com/.
The website states that “the money will go towards funding community programs and projects that will lead to the increased safety of Omaha citizens.”
Thanks first responders, Omaha Fire & Rescue and Omaha Police Department, for all that you do!