First responders celebrate Thanksgiving on the job

While most of us are celebrating with family and friends, others spent the Thanksgiving holiday working to maintain safety.
Published: Nov. 24, 2022 at 5:50 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While most people spent Thursday with family and friends, those working for Sedgwick County Fire Department and EMS spent their day on the job with coworkers.

“Holidays to me either seem super busy or whenever you’re expecting it to be really busy, nothing happens,” said Capt. David Richmond with Sedgwick County Fire Department Station 34 in Haysville.

Working in a 24-hour industry, it’s something that first responders prepare for.

“I mean we definitely miss our wives and kids when we are here, I have three boys at home, and my wife so leaving her home by herself on the holidays, and then I got four of my firefighters here that I get to spend the day with, I think its harder on the spouses and the children then it probably is on us,” said Capt. Richmond.

EMS District Chief Tracy Swihart said work on the holidays is like any other day.

“What we do is we manage the service, making sure the calls are getting attended to. Put out, if there’s any critical calls that we go to, we help with those, or we sometimes have to manage some different medications that the trucks don’t carry,” said Swihart.

But, she said being away from family can be difficult for both the employee and those at home.

“The families are the ones who sacrifice the most because we don’t have time to spend with them on the holidays but we all adjust our schedules and we celebrate on a different day,” said Swihart.

Back at the fire station, families are invited to celebrate with the firefighters during their downtime.

“So our families will come up. We have to spend 24 hours away from families and so they’re going to come up for a meal this afternoon. The same for Christmas. Wives and kids and parents and anybody immediately family generally comes up. And we spend most of our day with our family here,” said Capt. Richmond.

Swihart said getting together is all about adjusting schedules.

“I will actually be celebrating tonight with my father because I get off at 6. So, I get to spend time with my family after 6 o’clock tonight,” she said. “So for me, it’s just another typical day.”