No holiday for those who keep us safe

While most people are nestled with care at home during the holidays, local public safety officials are hard at work, making sure area residents and visitors are safe during the holiday.

“It’s very important to have law enforcement working because safety doesn’t stop on the holidays,” said Sgt. Garrett Poole with the Fulton Police Department.

“(Slideoffs) are to be expected right now,” Poole said. “The roads are a lot better than they were once the city started getting the roads cleared off.”

Several local agencies remained open on Christmas Eve, to help people in need.

“Usually Christmas is a good day for us,” said Melonie Sinkclear, House Supervisor at Callaway Community Hospital. “The staff plans ahead, so we know who is going to be here.”

Sinkclear said the hospital schedule comes out a month in advance, so they know who will be working over the holiday.

“It’s really the same things we would see any other day of the week,” she said. “We do tend to see more people who have overeaten and have indegistion and chest pains. The holidays can be a stressful time, so we see more depression and such as that.”

Sinkclear stressed that at the hospital, Christmas is just another day for emergencies.

“We see household injuries all the time. It’s a normal thing,” she said. “And there are auto accidents from people traveling when the roads are not good. We’re always prepared for that.”

Sinkclear said it is important for the hospital to remain staffed and open because emergencies cannot wait until a Monday.

“A lot of times we can be the last hope for some people,” she said.

Leah Oestreich, of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), concurred.

“It’s just like any other day,” Oestreich said. “The weather doesn’t stop for the holidays and the holiday doesn’t stop for any kind of emergencies the citizens may have. We have to be here 24/7 for them.”

Sinkclear said the hospital employees try to make the best of being at work on a holiday.

“We usually plan something special,” she said. “One of our doctors brings in dinner and the other staff brings side dishes and desserts, so we’re going to have a Christmas dinner here. We know we’re here. There’s no getting around it. The hospital has to be here.”

The community comes together to help EOC on holidays, according to Oestreich.

“Sometimes we may have a carry-in dinner,” she said. “But usually other citizens bring us stuff. SERVE sometimes does. They have their dinners and they bring us some, too.”

Fulton Fire Engineer Jesse Suess said cooking fires are up around Thanksgiving and Christmas because more people are cooking.

“Accidents happen on holidays just like every other day,” he said. “Even if they put the fire out, we still normally go and make a report so they have something to turn in to their insurance.”

Sinkclear said most hospital staff know the nature of the business when they start work.

“It’s not a 9-5 job. We do it all the time and most of us do it because we love it. We want to be here for people who need us.”

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