So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ambulance siren? Call to prayer.

Vancouver Sun image

I live on main thoroughfare frequently used by emergency vehicles to transit between the west and east side of a suburban area. It would be easy to be distracted by the frequent ambulance and police sirens. Having grown up living close to an airport, within a couple hundred metres of the main runway and a block away from a firehall, I suppose the din of that upbringing allowed me to become quite indifferent to traffic noise. The police sirens, the constant thunder of jets from 7am to 10pm, ubiquitous traffic noise and the add punctuation of the thursday night wailing of the firehall siren calling in the volunteer firefighters to practice their firefighting skills carried the risk of desensitizing us to sounds normally associated with serious events.

My home town, a village really, was once quite small—900 residents for the better part of my childhood. Like every small town, everybody knew everbody. When a siren went off, one couldn't help but wonder who was in distress—a friend, a neighbour, a relative—and/or be concerned about the kind of emergency was in progress.

It is easy to take emergency workers for granted. It's far too easy to be annoyed by the wailing sirens and to think only about how long traffic is being held up when you're stuck waiting for the emergency vehicle(s) to pass by so you can be on your way. You are, after all, in a hurry, and how dare someone call an ambulance to halt traffic and hold you up! Patience.

The next time you're stuck waiting in traffic, or at home and a swarm of firetrucks, ambulances and police cars roars past, remember that someone is probably in distress and needs help... and your prayers. Say a prayer that those emergency workers are kept safe at all times. Ask God to strengthen their guardian angels. As the police cars go ripping past your vehicle, say a prayer asking the intercession of Saint Michael, patron of  police officers. Or, if a firetruck is on route to an emergency, ask Saint Florian to pray for those firefighters, that they may be kept safe from all harm as they rush to help someone.

Treat every siren as a call to prayer. Pray for those who might be in distress. Pray for the safety and well being of ambulance drivers and attendants, police officers and firefighters, doctors and nurses.
Heavenly Father,
please watch over these emergency workers.
Guide them safely to their destination.
Watch over them and help them in their present task.
Watch over those in need of their help.
Holy Spirit, please strengthen their guardian angels.
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. 
Holy angels of God: pray for them.
A few tips for traffic sanity in a civilized world:
  • When you hear an approaching siren, don't forget to check your mirrors. When you have determined an emergency vehicle is travelling in the same direction as you, put on your care signal indicator, shoulder check and pull over to the curb so the emergency vehicles can get past.
  • Keep you car radio/stereo down to a level that allows you to hear what's going on as you drive. And, unless you are safely pulled out of traffic, don't answer your handheld cellphone and never text when you're in your car. In our neck of the woods, it is a crime to use a handheld device while driving. Of course, people routinely ignore the law. Those are the same people who cause tempers to flare because they hold up traffic at a fresh green light because they are still texting while the green light gets stale and cars are piling up behind them. These people may not realize it, but their actions are putting people's lives at risk. If you are the driver of a vehicle, that's your role. Concentrate on driving. No call or text is worth getting into an accident and possibly taking or losing a life.
  • If you're at an intersection, keep alert! Wait until the emergency vehicle has completely left the intersection and the light has turned green before you begin to move. This evening a firetruck, sirens wailing and lights flashing, got stuck in traffic and an ambulance attending to the same emergency had to double back through traffic due to a traffic jam at a major intersection! Cars, which is to say drivers, were not attentive to the sirens. No one pulled over—not one!—and the emergency vehicles had to reroute adding precious minutes to their journey. Seconds count!
  • Once the emergency vehicles have passed, wait for the cars ahead of you to get going. Don't be one of those entitled drivers from the rear who jumps the queue and who risks sideswiping other cars in the line and turning the street into a parking lot.

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