We hear a lot about the shortages of personnel that volunteer fire companies, ambulance crews, fire police, and rescue squads are experiencing.

Sunday morning, we saw first-hand how blessed we are in our region to still have an adequate number of responders to handle multiple emergency calls - or potentially a mass casualty situation.

First, a terrible crash happened on Pohopoco Drive in Franklin Township with at least four people trapped and multiple injuries. Numerous ambulances were sent to the scene. Franklin Township and Lehighton Fire Departments responded.

Minutes later, a fire alarm was sounded for the Big Lots store in Mahoning Township. Mahoning Fire Department and Mahoning Valley Ambulance was dispatched. Smoke was coming from a light fixture.

While these two incidents were going on, two more ambulance calls came in. The first was to a personal care home. The second was for a stroke victim in Lehighton.

Then came one more ambulance request; a medical situation in Kidder Township.

The array of calls still wasn't over. Apparently a firefighter at the scene of the crash had some sort of attack and an ambulance had to return to that scene.

Despite all this, the dispatcher from the Carbon County Telecommunications Center never showed any signs of being frazzled. His tone remained steady and authoritative. He did a great job in directing the emergency crews for each of the many calls.

The fire and ambulance crews, likewise, were prompt in their responses. Even bad weather didn't hinder those answering the call.

The Lehighton Ambulance Corps has paid staff and also some volunteers. All the other responders were strictly volunteer. They arrived at the scenes of each emergency call in great time. Slippery roads did not deter them from hastily reaching their destinations.

We're fortunate to have such dedicated responders. There's no way taxpayers could afford to pay for full-time fire protection. That's why we advocate responding generously when they have fund drives and various fund-raising events.

In the Franklin accident, there were about six people who had to be transported to hospitals. Some of those patients were seriously injured and had to get medical treatment ASAP.

Minutes are important for accident victims, both for receiving the proper care and for relieving the apparent pain that results during such incidents.

Also, all those responders are well-trained and adequately equipped to handle even the most critical situations injuries, rescues, extrications, and fires.

We've written in the past about the great job the volunteers in our area do. We have to say it again to let them know their efforts aren't taken for granted, and to remind everyone how fortunate we are.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com