The Fire Service and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. The official kickoff of the Holiday Season. A time to reflect on what you’re thankful for, and a time to relax and eat with friends and family. For some, it might be sitting down and enjoying a meal with your fellow firefighters because you’re working that shift. One thing is for certain though…it tends to get a little busy during this time of year. That’s why for us firefighters, it’s time to be on our A-game. Let’s dive into our typical traditions of Thanksgiving within the fire service.

First, let’s talk about the amount of people traveling. Statistically, it happens to be the Friday after Thanksgiving. However, the days leading up to Thursday will see a major increase in travelers. Why is that important to us? A few things. First and foremost is the potential delay in response times due to increased traffic. We have to make sure we plan alternative routes in the case that our area is busy. Adding to that is the Holiday parades. With certain roads shut down, it will definitely cause us to plan alternate routes, but one thing to consider is that it also means civilian traffic will be backed up in those areas as well. 

With more cars on the road, there’s also potential for a rise in motor vehicle accidents. Be sure to use proper rig positioning on roadways and always keep an eye out for the passing traffic. This increases with Black Friday. You have lunatics driving through all hours of the night trying to get the best deals. A lot of them aren’t even paying attention, or they may be driving erratically or might be sleepy. Just a few things to keep an eye on.

Secondly, we have cooking. Not everyone out there is an experienced Chef making a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, but a couple of people may think they are. When you’re preparing a large meal while simultaneously getting your place together for company, sometimes things get left unattended. That being said, we may see a rise in oven or kitchen fires, and also a potential increase in fire related injuries. Additionally, we have a lot of first timers when it comes to deep frying a turkey. Typically, this plan doesn’t work out too well for them. If they’re really not sure of what they’re doing, they may attempt to do it on the deck or next to the house or dare I say it, inside the house. Where things get even crazier is when they attempt to put out these fires with a pail of water. At that point, you can guarantee the fire department is coming over for Thanksgiving.

All that being said, it doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving is a grim time for people. The point is that there’s potential for these things to happen and we just need to be aware of it. For the most part, everyone tends to have a wonderful time with their loved ones during the Holidays, and the fact that they know there are people at the ready to help them at any given moment makes it that much more comfortable for them. This Thanksgiving, make sure you enjoy your time with your favorite people. If you happen to be working, make sure you get home safely to your favorite people. Hopefully, none of the emergencies mentioned above present themselves, but always be ready in case they do. Have a happy, loving, and safe Thanksgiving!

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