By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian
When most people will be sitting down for a relaxing Thanksgiving dinner, some Marion County workers will be away from the dinner table, hard at work.
Firefighters, police officers and emergency services will all be on duty for the holiday.
Marion County Sheriff Joe Carpenter said that, for them, it’s just another day at work.
“It’s a regular shift,” Carpenter said. “With law enforcement or any civil service, a Thursday is no different than a Saturday when you have a 24/7 schedule.”
The Fairmont Fire Department will also be fully staffed today.
“Being a professional department, that’s one thing we pride ourselves on,” Fairmont Fire Capt. Mark Angelucci said. “We’re there 24/7, 365 days.”
“There are just as many calls during the holidays,” he said.
Carpenter agreed that keeping the office staffed was important.
“Accidents happen. People still get sick. There are still violations of the law. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or not,” Carpenter said. “The bad people don’t take breaks on holidays.”
Carpenter said that having officers out there in the public can help act as a deterrent for criminal activity, but people should still be careful.
“Be aware of your surroundings. People will be looking for people who may be carrying gifts, electronics or cash,” Carpenter said.
If anything does happen this holiday, officers will be ready to help.
“We have people on alert, ready to go if something takes place,” Carpenter said. “That’s just part of the job.”
But it won’t be all work today.
Angelucci said that some years, the firefighters on duty have spent their day making their own Thanksgiving feast, in between calls.
“We’ll cook dinner all day, and hopefully not have too many calls,” Angelucci said. “And then we all get together, and eat and enjoy spending time with each other’s families.”
Angelucci said that in years that they haven’t been able to cook themselves, family members have brought a Thanksgiving meal down for them.
Some years, they’re able to sit down and enjoy the entire meal together. Other years, duty calls.
“We’ve had years where you go to sit down, and the alarm goes off, and off you go,” Angelucci said. “It may be 10 minutes, or it may be 10 hours, depending on the call.”
Angelucci said that the firefighters are a tightly knit group.
“Because in our profession, we spend so much time with each other that those guys really are our family,” he said. “So it isn’t like you aren’t with family on Thanksgiving.”
Angelucci told people to be careful this Thanksgiving.
“If you deep fry a turkey, make sure it’s completely thawed out,” he said. If turkeys aren’t fully thawed before being deep fried, the ice can react with the hot oil and cause a boil-over and a fire hazard.
“Be careful with the weather and traveling,” Angelucci said. “Have a good holiday, and enjoy it!”
Email Colleen S. Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.