Feature of a First Responder
My Mutual Insurance has embarked on a mission to bring awareness to the exceptional individuals who make up our local first responders. We also felt it necessary to reach out and speak with someone who actively serves in this capacity. Beyond our Responders First contest giving volunteer services a hand up, we wanted share their stories with you.
Josh Erb, by all accounts, is one of these exceptional individuals. Josh and his family live and work in the community of Herbert Saskatchewan. A family man who cares deeply about his children and pastor of a local church, Josh also finds himself engaged in the community. Beyond serving his family and congregation, like so many other unsung heroes, Josh volunteers with his local Fire Department. In our conversation with Josh we received an inside look at what it is like to serve the community as a volunteer first responder.
As Josh spoke, a theme developed revealing how he viewed his role as a first responder with the fire department, as a father and as a resident of the community. Service. From the fears a first responder faces in dangerous situations to setting a good example for his children, serving others is a major motivation.
As we talked about the real dangers and fears first responder’s face, it was surprising when Josh mentioned the largest challenge wasn’t always the immediate danger. He recalled an instance where he arrived at an accident and was instructed to help direct traffic. Desperately wishing to be at the side of those suffering, he was forced to overcome the instinct of doing more in the moment. Directing traffic is important at an accident scene, but it gave deeper insight into a first responder’s heart. They desire to serve at the fullest capacity.
“I tend to find there are those who run away, and those who run towards a situation with a desire to help. It is difficult emotionally and super challenging situation when you want to help, but you have to take on a different role in the moment.”
Josh also relayed the immense challenge it is responding to a situation in a timely manner as many Saskatchewan communities are remote and can take a while to arrive.
“You do feel fear. But the desire to help and serve is stronger. There’s no time to think about yourself. Where you are needed may be a half-hour away. You spend all that time thinking about the other person. Their pain, and the fear they are in.”
Training plays a big role in the commitment volunteer first responders make when they sign on to serve. Almost all volunteers give up time at work and with family to make sure they are educated and up-to-date with the latest information, techniques and tactics. It is a sacrifice made as a volunteer most never see. But the training becomes integral when responding to an emergency.
All emergency operations require finances. Aside from the training, purchasing new equipment and replacing older equipment is a top priority. Josh had mentioned each department is unique will face their own challenges. A common struggle aside from attracting volunteers is the challenge of financially supporting the emergency service.
“When you are dealing with a smaller team and less finances there’s bound to be equipment strains. There are times where you are left to ask, ‘What can we live without? How do you fund that?’”
The Herbert Fire Department has partnered with local businesses and the R.M to help fund and support the upkeep of equipment and facilities. The Fire Department also engages the community with fundraisers and other events to help meet the demand. Needs like these have inspired My Mutual Insurance to get involved with the Responders First challenge.
As the conversation drew to a close, we discussed how work with the Fire Department affects and influences him as a father. His response was concise and reflected again the heart behind volunteers everywhere.
“I want to be a dad that shows his kids how to show-up and care.”
Despite the challenges, our local first responders have dedicated their time and efforts putting you and your family first. Link your efforts with My Mutual Insurance as we work together, recognize and salute our local volunteer responders.
If Josh’s story has inspired you, visit your local administration office and see how you can get involved with the volunteer first responders in your community.