On behalf of the members of the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department, we want to say “thank you.” Thank you for the overwhelming love that is regularly displayed to us. We are especially grateful for the support shown to us over the past couple of months as the first responders of Kearney have been through some difficult calls for service recently. We could make a fairly long list of the reasons we serve our community as firefighters. When you boil it all down, though, there is one overwhelming reason to help our neighbors. We are there in their greatest times of need, and many times, we see people during one of the worst times of their lives.
We train ourselves to be ready for nearly any imaginable situation. Unlike generations ago, the fire department is much more than just putting out fires. We are there for vehicle accidents, farm accidents, grain bin rescues, hazardous material incidents, dive rescue and recovery, swift water rescue, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and the list goes on. No matter what emergency we are called to, we respond at a moment’s notice. We pride ourselves on our motto, “Always Ready,” and we back that up with training and practice.
To keep our community safe, though, we aren’t the only ones who need to be “Always Ready.”
Each home should have a fire escape plan and it should be practiced. You should have two ways out of every room. We ask our community to practice opening their windows, practice going to your family meeting place and practice good home fire prevention. Practice putting combustible items away from ignition sources. Practice testing your smoke detectors.
We teach the children of our community all of these items in school. We share this same message throughout the year at community events. (Some people think we are just there to show off the fire truck.) For some reason, though, not everyone takes our message to heart.
So far in 2021, firefighters have rescued 829 civilians from residential fire incidents in the United States. Of these, 199 people have died from their injuries.
It’s easy to think “things like this happen in other places, but not here.” Unfortunately, two separate fires right here in Kearney are part of the statistics where four of our very own community members have died. These people aren’t just statistics. They were brothers, sisters, moms and friends. They were loved ones taken from us too soon. While we grieve alongside our community, we all need to be proactive to protect our own families.
If there is one single thing each of us could do to keep our family safe, it would be to have properly installed and working smoke detectors. You should have a smoke detector in every sleeping room, outside every sleeping room and one on each level of your home. The smoke detectors should be tested monthly and the batteries should be replaced twice a year. The switch to Daylight Saving Time is a good reminder.
Smoke detectors expire after 10 years, so make sure to check the date on the back of your smoke detectors. It sounds easy, but we are constantly amazed at how many homes don’t have working smoke detectors. If you can’t afford smoke detectors, you can stop by Kearney Fire Station No.1 at 2211 Ave. A or call 308-233-3226 and we can provide some to you.