Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

December 27, 2012

WORKING ON THE HOLIDAYS: Cover every shift

'It's just part of the job'

By SHELLEY SMITH
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — While many spent Christmas Eve with their families, it was just a normal Monday for firefighters at the Glasgow Fire Department.

Captain Craig Hiser, and firefighters David Karrick and Dustin Harper, spent the day conducting  weekly cleaning and general maintenance tasks. Karrick, who has been with the department for more than nine years, said Mondays are spent checking equipment to make sure it’s functioning properly. All three of the men didn’t seem to mind working on a holiday and simply chalked it up to “it’s just part of the job.”

Hiser said he hoped for an uneventful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day work shift.

“Something I dread the most is something bad happening on Christmas,” he said.

This is why Hiser said he and other members of the Glasgow Fire Department spend time educating the public on proper fire prevention.

He said in the ‘80s there were several holiday incidents where Christmas trees caught on fire. In an effort to be proactive, in 1987, the Glasgow Fire Department started dipping live Christmas trees in a boric acid solution to make them more flame resistant.

“Our number of Christmas tree fires has steadily decreased since 1987,” Hiser said. “Our main goal is fire prevention. We’re probably one of the few entities that try to work ourselves out of the job.”

Throughout Hiser’s more than 26-year career with the Glasgow Fire Department he’s seen the full circle of high points to low points. Several years ago he witnessed a house fire where a woman was killed the day after Christmas by a shard of glass while she frantically tried to escape through the window. On the flip side, Hiser has mentored the new generation of Glasgow firefighters and seen their fever for their new career.

 Despite the ups and downs, Hiser said he wouldn’t have changed his career path.

“I think somewhere attached to my genes was a need to be a firefighter,” he said. “This is my home away from home.”

While Karrick and Harper worked in the garage, musing about the home-cooked holiday meals prepared by their families every year, Louise Garrett arrived right on cue with some homemade baked goods in a big plastic laundry basket. For Garrett, it’s been a 13-year holiday tradition to drop off treats and crafts to the local firefighters and police officers.

Garrett said the tradition is about recognizing people who give their all for the community, even on a holiday.

“I want them to know that I appreciate them,” she said.