With the threat of yet another snowstorm making its way through the area, we urge all to follow the advice issued this week by area volunteer fire department officials.
The message was an important one: Keep your driveways as clear as possible of snow and ice.
"If you can't get in or out (of your driveway), neither can fire trucks, first responders or emergency vehicles," said Dave McCoy, assistant chief at the Calcutta Volunteer Fire Department. " ... We would hate to see someone die because we can't get to them."
It was suggested that residents invest in whatever means possible to make sure their areas are clear, be it tractors, hiring someone to clear the driveway, or use of gravel or other materials to ease entry/exit.
Two recent medical incidents, in which firefighters used their personal vehicles to haul emergency personnel to the homes, initiated the request to area residents. In both cases, the driveways were snow covered to the point the ambulance could not be used.
The same can be said for fire calls. The response time is getting a truck to a fire due to snow or ice could be delayed, which could mean the difference in saving a life or a home.
This time of year is bad for all of us who travel the roads to get to work, school or other activities. Be patient with your fellow driver. Be cautious. Leave a bit early for your destination.
And we also urge everyone to take the time to clear your driveways (in case of emergencies) and other areas around your property, such as mailboxes for our postal carriers, newspapers boxes for our motor route drivers, and garbage bins for our trash haulers.
But also work at a comfortable pace. Don't overdo it.
Think safety, above all else, both yours and others, during this time of year.