SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It may be Christmas, but frontline medical workers and first responders are still spending time away from loved ones to keep their communities safe and healthy.
Colder weather the next two days could make for a busier holiday with fires, and cold-related health issues.
Even before noon, Savannah Fire houses around the City responded to a stabbing call, and a kitchen fire. And first responders with Chatham Emergency Services told me they went to a drug overdose call Friday morning.
So even though it’s a holiday, the calls for service for both of these agencies don’t stop, even though they may slow down a little. The cold weather adds a layer of danger for the public as well, with some trying to use alternative heat sources to stay warm and accidentally starting fires.
We asked members with both Savannah Fire and Chatham EMS what they traditionally encounter on Christmas.
“The majority of our calls will be cooking fires, false alarms with smoke detectors going off from burnt food. And then the cooking fires would probably be if we were to catch a structure fire it would start from cooking,” said Savannah Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Nicholas Early.
“Also during the holidays you have a lot of mental health calls. It’s a trying time for some people during the holidays,” said Charles Roberts with Chatham Emergency Services.
Savannah Fire had their holiday wreath hanging at headquarters. Since putting it up, they’ve added 10 red bulbs, each representing a fire in the city they’ve responded to.
The men and women called on to help those in need find ways to enjoy time with one another, or adjust schedules with family to celebrate Christmas when they can.
“My family, we kind of work around the schedule. My husband and I are both in EMS and Fire. So we’ll schedule Christmas either the day before or the day after, and our kids have kind of learned that this is how it is for us,” said Ericka Hill, with Chatham Emergency Services.
Battalion Chief Early added, “This is our second family. We have our first families obviously, but here we make a special dinner together. It’s a little different with COVID stuff, we’re trying to eat and keep that social distancing.”
For both agencies, the pandemic has been the biggest challenge of the year, one that the support of the community and their families has helped them tackle.
“I’m grateful that I have a good family, good kids, good support system from them...good support system at work,” said Roberts.
“The community’s still dropping off cookies and doughnuts and all that kind of thing, showing the love to us. It’s been special,” Early said.