BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! Followed by high-pitched squeals and voices from county dispatchers saying someone needs help!
If anyone is involved or has a family member in his or her community's fire or ambulance crew or auxiliary, these sounds are all too familiar.
My husband is a volunteer fireman, totes his pager with him at all times, and takes pride in serving his community.
Many times, dinner has been cut short as the signal tones unique to our town come across the airwaves. In addition, numerous committee meetings for annual dinners, equipment purchases and training have consumed nights and weekends.
Without all the volunteers and the support of their families, we would have devastating voids within our communities.
For their dedication, hard work and response to those needs, I stand up and applaud them. They deserve our utmost respect.
Our area, whether paid or volunteer, has more than 1,000 skilled individuals prepared and ready to respond to the volume of 911 calls.
If you had the opportunity in July to attend the Otsego County Volunteer Firemen's Association convention banquet in Edmeston, you may have been astounded at how many individuals give of themselves for the betterment of others.
The difference between life or death or saving years of irreplaceable memories are determined by their ability to rapidly react to any given call.
Each town's organization is a staple in the community, and rightfully so. We all depend on them in our time of need.
The hours and hours of preparation, drills to keep their skills fresh and meetings discussing always-evolving plans to better suit the community's needs _ these all take time and effort.
Our communities also rely on companies from surrounding townships to respond with mutual aid. The intricate network from your initial phone call to the time help arrives affects much more than just the few that arrive on-scene.
From the dispatcher who takes your emergency information to the vehicles that carry all the vital equipment, to the folks who trained the individuals to use the tools properly, all are integral pieces of our ambulance squads and fire companies.
Without these men and women, where would we be? Your continued support allows them to do what they do, and knowing I personally don't say this enough, THANK YOU!!!
But to all those volunteers out there, if you are similar to my husband, if a call comes across in the middle of the night, turn on the light as you get dressed.
The screams of pain after a stubbed toe or grumblings of not being able to find your shoes as quickly as you would like are not exactly conducive to your partner falling back asleep.
As for your cries in the dark from the injured body part, you already have one call to respond to, let's not make it two!
As for my smoking update, I am still at five a day. It is not where I would like to be at this point in my journey to quit, but I am proud and happy to say that I have yet to revert to the almost two packs I was once at. Every cigarette I don't smoke helps me get that much closer to my goal.
Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star. She can be reached at tshalor@thedailystar or at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214. Her column will run on Page 3 every other Thursday.