By Robert Lucke
Havre Fire Department Assistant Chief Tim Ranes has seen some changes in attitudes of firefighters since the recent terrorism against the United States.
"The other day I was watching football and John Madden came on and said that it was not the people playing football who were the heroes but the real heroes were the firefighters," Ranes said. "I said to myself, Yes!' when I heard that.
"You know we are having tough times all over the country right now," he added.
It is especially relevant to be a firefighter right now, and when they go around the town making their presentations during Fire Prevention Week, their presence will be felt even more than usual.
"During Fire Prevention Week we go to some schools and give safety talks," Ranes said. "This year we are targeting kindergarten through the third grade in Highland Park School, St. Jude's, and Lincoln McKinley. And in our talks we always have a drawing for a free smoke detector."
In addition, Fire Department personnel are visiting each Havre school and conducting fire drills.
If there were just one fire prevention tip the Havre assistant fire chief could give to area families, Ranes knows just what it would be.
"I would tell every household to make sure that they have an operational smoke detector," Ranes added. "They are what definitely saves lives!"
At the Havre Fire Department, as in most other places, the terrorism is on their minds.
"You know with this terrorist thing, it is not the military, it is the firefighters and emergency medical technicians who are on the front lines during these things. Police too. I think that we are really the first wave," Ranes said. "It was like John Madden said, we are just going in when everyone else is going out."
There are many things that fire departments around the nation could be doing to better prepare themselves for what may be a new wave of the future.
"It comes down to money," Ranes said. There are federal grants these days for different fire departments. I hope that these terrorist activities will open some eyes and get us more grant money in the future."
Ranes pointed out that this week's theme in Havre for Fire Prevention Week is "Cover the Bases and Strike Out Fire."
The Havre Fire Department will have an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. daily today through Friday.
There will be daily drawings for smoke detectors and autographed baseballs signed by all of the Havre firefighters. Free items will be given away, including fire helmets, coloring books, stickers and pencils. Refreshments will be served.
Demonstrations will be given throughout the week. Today will be blood pressure and glucose monitoring. Tuesday will be IV and intubation demonstrations. Jaws of Life demonstrations will be given on Wednesday and rope rescue techniques will be demonstrated on Thursday.
For further information, contact the Havre Fire Department at 265-6511.