Fire District 3 holds ‘virtual ride along’

Jackson County, Ore. — Fire District 3 gave residents a rare inside look at what it takes to respond to fires and other emergencies. It hosted a virtual ride along Thursday taking people from call-to-call, virtually, through social media.

“Today is our first ever virtual ride along and we’ve invited the public to tag along with us,” said Captain Will Clelland, Fire District 3.

Tagging along through Facebook and Twitter.

“Posting every alarm we get, in real time and we’re asking our crews that are on-duty to share pictures and videos from their fire stations and their fire engines,” he said.

The fire district calls the event a success with some posts reaching thousands of people.

“We live in this world and we do it everyday, so sometimes we forget that there is a public interest. Letting them have a little bit of an inside look into what we do on a day-to-day basis in the fire department,” he said.

Captain Clelland said one of the most important things emergency personnel should remember, it’s their job to serve the public.

“Our duty is to serve their needs, and so it’s really critical that we open our doors and show them how we serve them and how our operations are set up to make sure we meet their needs,” he said.

Meeting the needs of a population of more than 53,000 people.

“The number one thing we rely on is the public’s trust,” he said.

Fire District 3 responds to around 8,000 calls each year.

“We respond to 911 calls where people are in the worst moment of their lives and are expecting help. Without their absolute trust, we simply can’t serve their needs,” he said.

The captain says in order to gain that level of trust, they need to earn it – and they’re more than happy to put in the work to do so.

“We’re not trying to hide anything, we’re not trying to put a spin on it,” he said.

They’re just trying to break down walls, and build a healthy relationship with the people they serve.

“We are just opening our operations for them, because these are their fire engines. This isn’t our fire truck, this is their fire truck,” he said.

The virtual ride-along lasts until 8 p.m. Thursday, to follow a firefighter’s full 13-hour shift. If you’d like to ask questions, you can visit Fire District 3’s Facebook and Twitter.

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