Off Air With Tony Tone: When duty calls

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Last Friday morning, the Muscatine Fire Department were guests with my co-worker, Morning Joel, for his Moving Forward segment on KWPC AM 860 FM 95.1. We have a great relationship with both the fire and police department, so any opportunity we get to have folks from there on the air, we take.

That morning, Joel was joined by a few guys who arrived to the radio station in one of the MFD’s ambulances. I was sitting in my studio across the hall listening to their conversation when a call came in, and two of the firefighters had to hustle out the door.

Moments like that, I’m thankful for the men and women who are ready to answer the call. If you’ve read this column, you know that my father has been in law enforcement in Chicago for nearly 35 years and is set to retire this August. The question I’ve always wanted to ask folks who work for the fire or police department is this: what goes through your mind when that call comes in from dispatch?

Now, this is the job they chose and they certainly understand the variety of situations they’ll respond to, but what’s the thought process truly like? From my perspective that Friday morning, it was immediate action. They took the call outside of the studio, grabbed their stuff, and headed out the door. I don’t know what call they were responding to, and that’s not really any of my business, but in that instant I asked myself if I would respond the same way.

I’ve spent the last ten years working in radio and not having to get involved in any lifesaving situations. However, I have had to call 911 when I witnessed different things going on. My point is this: in 2017, we’re all connected to each other through technology. I have a computer in my pocket in the form of my smart phone, and it can do so many things. When you see something happening that requires the attention of the fire or police department, please make that call rather than taking pictures or videos. We share so much of ourselves online—and I’m guilty of it as well—but when someone needs our help, think for a second, and then take the necessary steps, if you’re able, because that could be the difference between life and death.