Most of us probably don’t give it much thought when we hear the sirens and see a fire engine roar past. It’s just part of the landscape; part of the everyday hustle and bustle of life in the city.

Yet multiple times a day, and day after day, local firefighters are responding swiftly and professionally to any number of emergency calls.

On July 19, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue responded to a house fire in Tigard. While attacking the fire, the house’s roof began to collapse, putting firefighters at risk. Twenty-three firefighters responded to the incident and the four occupants were able to escape without injury.

And on July 17, TVF&R, along with crews from Lake Oswego, Newberg and Washington County Fire District 2 battled a brush fire in Sherwood. Gusting winds worked against the firefighters, pushing the fire into deep grass. However, the 40 firefighters were able to control the fire in just about three hours.

Firefighters manning stations around our area may get 90 or more emergency calls in a given 24-hour shift, and uncertainty is always the order of the day. Fires, car wrecks, heart attacks, chemical spills, false alarms — the men and women who have dedicated themselves to protecting us from a variety of hazards see it all on a regular basis. And from everything we’ve observed, they handle their work in an extremely professional manner.

Sometimes we’ll see them in their fire stations, cleaning and maintaining equipment, making sure fire hoses or other critical pieces of equipment are ready to go, or engaging in training exercises.

No one is forced to become a firefighter or a paramedic. Those who sign up to do so go through grueling training regimens because they are motivated to help their fellow citizens get through crises. We owe them a lot.

Firefighters, whose work we might sometimes take for granted, are among the very best our society has to offer. And as with law enforcement officers, the dangers they face are very real.

That unpleasant reality was drilled home earlier this summer in Arizona. On June 30, firefighters battling a wildfire there were caught in an unexpected situation when the winds changed suddenly and dramatically, costing all 19 people their lives as they toiled to save homes in the area.

Conditions at a fire scene, whether a wildfire, a house fire or a fire in an office building, are unpredictable, and what seems at first to be a “routine” call (there really is no such thing) can suddenly turn deadly.

For all of these reasons, we want to express our appreciation and admiration to firefighters all around the area for the jobs they are doing every day to save lives and to prevent a variety of calamities from causing even more damage.

We want our firefighters to know: We value your service more than we can ever express. Thank you.

Contract Publishing

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