|Ask a Firefighter: Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League thanks our communities!|
|By Jane Perkins, Fire Safety Specialist for the Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League|
|June 8, 2020|
The firefighters and emergency medical technicians of the many departments that make up the Rhode Island Southern Firefighter’s League would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of the people and businesses that have generously supported us during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was, and will continue to be, a very difficult time for all Rhode Islanders, and it was extremely difficult for the first responders. Despite the risks associated with the coronavirus, local first responders continue to volunteer to protect their communities.
We would like to collectively acknowledge the support and generosity that was demonstrated so many times during the past few months. It is an honor to be a volunteer, but it is a greater honor to receive the genuine support and appreciation that has been repeatedly exhibited by the members of our communities. Residents created and donated hundreds of masks. Families sent cards and letters of thanks. Residents and business owners delivered food, personal protective equipment, and cleaning supplies. Businesses even retooled their lines to produce and donate sanitizer, face shields, and personal protective equipment for first responders.
Every single card, every single letter, every single donation was deeply appreciated. To be honest, many local firefighters and emergency medical technicians were overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and support. It was community spirit at its best and a clear sign that Washington County is a wonderful place to live and work.
To recognize all the donors in this column would be impossible, but the exemplary efforts of a few need to be mentioned. We are especially grateful to our friends at Sons of Liberty Distillery, Grey Sail Brewery, and the University of Rhode Island who produced and donated hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer. The Lacerta Group Inc. created and donated hundreds of protective face shields, and US Extruders, who secured and donated much-needed infrared thermometers. Sweenor Builders constructed and donated plexiglass aerosol intubation boxes.
In addition, our friends at the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team and Medical Reserve Corps coordinated thousands of community donations of masks, gloves, and other personal protective supplies, which were quickly sorted and redistributed to the local fire and EMS departments.
During this incredibly difficult time, local volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical technicians continued to answer the call and continued to respond to calls despite a statewide quarantine stay-at-home guideline and a national pandemic. Fortunately, during this time, our local residents and local businesses stepped up and volunteered their time and efforts to support us in so many ways.
The various organizations that make up the Southern League cover approximately 336 square miles, which is about 1/3 of the state’s entire land area. This area is covered and protected primarily by more than 1,000 volunteer fire and EMS personnel, supplemented by few paid personnel. These dedicated volunteers sacrifice thousands of hours of their valuable time training and responding to calls for service and save taxpayers thousands of dollars annually.
Last year, our member agencies responded to more than 20,000 emergency calls and contributed more than 35,000 volunteer hours for incidents, training and service.
The Southern League consists of 26 fire districts, fire departments, ambulance services, emergency management agencies, and dispatch centers. These member organizations include the Ashaway, Block Island, Charlestown, Dunn’s Corners, Exeter #1, Exeter #2, Hianloland, Hope Valley Wyoming, Kingston, Lake Mishnock, Misquamicut, Narragansett, Richmond-Carolina, Union Fire District of South Kingstown, Watch Hill, Western Coventry, West Greenwich, and Westerly fire departments.
The Southern League also includes the Ashaway, Charlestown, Hope Valley, and Westerly ambulance services as well as the Westerly and Charlestown Dispatch Centers and the Westerly and Charlestown Emergency Management Agencies.
The officers and members of the Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League recognize the incredible support of our communities and offer sincere appreciation for all that they have done. They say it takes a village, and in this unprecedented time, your support and your generosity is genuinely appreciated and will not be forgotten.
For more information, please visit www.risouthernleague.com
This column was written by Jane Perkins, Fire Safety Specialist for the Rhode Island Southern Firefighters League and Captain of the Watch Hill Fire Department. If you would like to see a question answered in this column, please e-mail her at email@example.com.