With the Iowa Firefighters Association annual convention in Manchester Sept. 4-8, it’s a good time to reflect on the commitment firefighters in our communities make to keep the public safe.

The departments in our county are all-volunteer brigades. The members of the departments spend countless hours in meetings and training sessions to keep their communities safe.

Almost always, those meetings occur in the evening, after the firefighters have already spent their day working at their jobs. Firefighters come in all occupations. They work as business people, teachers, factory workers, insurance sales representatives, ministers and just about any other occupation one can imagine.

With help from their communities, the departments in our county have equipment that is second to none. It takes training and practice by department members to use that equipment safely and efficiently.

Firefighters in our area respond to more than fire calls. Often, they are on the scene of an auto accident. They can also be found out in the country spotting severe weather. And if that severe weather hits, firefighters can be counted on to help with storm clean up. In addition, they are often called on to conduct search and rescue efforts for missing individuals.

They do all of this in scorching temperatures in the summer and arctic temperatures in the winter.

Their service to their communities comes any time day or night. Being on call 24-7 means firefighters will miss an occasional holiday dinner, family reunion or town celebration.

One way the community can show its support to our local firefighters is coming up this week. While many of the events during convention week are not open to the public, there are several opportunities for the public to support the firefighters that are in our town during the week.

Take in one of several demonstrations and contests among fire departments that are open to the public. Water ball fights among departments will take place Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at the Gathering Place.

Of course, the parade Saturday night is sure to be a grand display of firefighter pride. As you watch the parade, pay attention to the Delaware County departments and give them an extra cheer when they go by.

An event the magnitude of the state fire convention simply isn’t possible without a coordinated effort from several agencies. We thank the City of Manchester, the Delaware County Fairgrounds and the Manchester Fire Department for their efforts in bringing the convention to town.

It’s safe to say when residents are around town that week they may run into a firefighter. Make sure to welcome them to town and to thank them for their service to their community. Where ever they are from, their community is safer because of their efforts.

We extend our welcome to all firefighters attending the convention. Have fun, be safe and thank you for your community service.

The “Our Opinion” column is the consensus of the editorial board. For information or comments, contact a member of the board: Beth Lutgen, Mike Putz or Mary Ungs-Sogaard.