Most of the time, first responders — police, firefighters, and EMS personnel — do their jobs without receiving any thanks. This can lead to poor morale and feeling as though no one sees the good that they do for their communities. You can positively impact how first responders feel about doing their jobs when you do small things to show your appreciation.
Just Say Thank You
A simple “thank you for your service” is often enough to show your appreciation. It won’t cost you anything and it will go a long way toward helping individual first responders feel recognized. If you see a police officer or firefighter as you run errands, take the time to stop and say something.
Send Them Greeting Cards and Letters
You can create a long-lasting show of support for first responders in your community by writing a letter or sending a greeting card. If you have had an interaction with first responders, mention the incident and express how they helped you. Address the message to a first responder in particular or write your message to the organization as a whole.
You can have an even more positive impact by getting others in your community involved. Ask your friends and neighbors to write greeting card messages and deliver them to local EMS, firefighters, or police officers. You can buy a bundle of greeting cards at a discounted rate to make it more convenient for your community to participate.
Get Involved in the First Responder Bowl
SERVPRO sponsors the First Responder Bowl as a means of showing support for first responders. This is an annual football game in Dallas, Texas, that recognizes the important work that first responders do on a daily basis.
In addition to honoring all first responders, this event recognizes individuals who have gone that extra mile. You can nominate a first responder in your community. If chosen, they will receive an all-inclusive paid trip to Dallas for the event, and they will receive an award during a ceremony on the field.
Buy Them Lunch
When you visit your favorite restaurant for lunch or dinner, keep an eye out for first responders. You can show your support for them by paying for their meal, and you’ll help them save a little on their dining expenses.
Another option is to pay for lunch for first responders during their shifts. Send submarine sandwiches or pizza to the fire department or police station in your neighborhood. Make sure you know how many first responders work on the shift to avoid forgetting anyone.
Donate to Relevant Causes
A little online research is all it takes to find nonprofit organizations that support first responders in your community. By donating to these organizations, you can benefit first responders in your neighborhood. In addition to supporting first responders, you’ll be supporting the families of those who have fallen in the line of duty.
Donating to a nonprofit organization can help you keep your donation anonymous as well. If you prefer to keep your support and contribution private, donating through a third-party organization is often the best way to go. Simply tell the organization that you want to keep your donation anonymous.
Fly a Thin Line Flag
Hanging the American flag in your yard or from your porch will tell first responders that you support them. You can take your support a step further by hanging a thin line flag. You have probably seen thin line flags in your community or online. A thin line flag is black and white with a thin colored line running across the middle of the flag.
The color of the line indicates the type of first responders you’re supporting. Blue shows law enforcement support, red supports firefighters, and white shows support for EMS personnel. Additionally, gold indicates support for dispatchers and a gray line indicates support for corrections officers.
If you can’t choose one thin-line flag, hang multiple flags to show your support for a wider range of first responders.
Look for More Ways to Make a Connection
Keep looking for more ways to connect with first responders in your community. Due to the stress and long hours of their jobs, many first responders live lonely lives. Simply making an effort to connect with them can brighten their days.