They are lifesavers- literally.
Maybe it’s your cat, your neighbor or a dear loved one; our first responders make the difference. So how do you say thank you for all that a first responder has done?
Firefighters do a lot. They run an amazing amount of medical calls, from lift assists to major emergencies. Then they fight fires.
Most of the time these are false alarms, but car fires and structure fires do happen (and some places get way too many fires!). Firefighters also do a lot of citizen calls, especially for our furry friends and other animals that need a helping hand.
The issue is that firefighters and other first responders aren’t supposed to accept gifts since it could be consider bribery.
They do what they do because they love their jobs, not for the flashy red truck (ok, maybe part of what they do is because they always wanted to drive a fire truck!) Firefighters don’t come to your aid because they want you to shower them with praise and throw money at them.
In Fact, around 70% of firefighters in the US are volunteers. Yep, that means over half of the firefighters that respond to emergency calls don’t make a single penny.
So maybe you just want to say thanks for being awesome and you want to teach your kids that firefighters are good people or firefighters saved you from a burning car.
Maybe you want to thank them for being there on your worst day, or you just really appreciate the work that they do.
Either way, this list is for you!
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Deliver a card
Firefighters often wonder about patients after they are done with their calls. It’s not uncommon for a firefighter to check at the local hospital on the well being of someone they rescued, but sometimes they don’t find out the whole story.
It’s a pretty natural reaction, Firefighters often see people when they are having a really bad day, sometimes this translates to PTSD- they wonder what happened or why the world works the way it does.
Delivering a card not only shows kindness to the men and women who helped, it also allows them to say hi, and to see you again. Not every story has a happy ending- thats ok too. It shouldn’t stop the family members from coming by to kindly talk- we all need the resolution that a kind word can bring in sad situations.
Cards are also a great option for the kids to have a “reason” to stop by the station.
Kids of all ages love to see the firetrucks and have the opportunity to give the gift of kindness! Most fire stations (specifically the career ones, sometimes the volunteer ones) schedule events for the community, and can also schedule a station tour. Firefighters want kids to understand that they are their to save them and they also want to share life saving tips for the families. Who knows, you might end up bringing a card and leaving with a fire hat!
Make a donation to the station or firefighters organization in your city or county, the gift that keeps on giving.
This is one of my favorite gifts because it helps our firefighters get more equipment or whatever else they might need.
Believe it or not, some fire-station’s have so little equipment that the first responders are purchasing what they need out of their own pockets. So not only do we have lots of volunteers (close to 70% in the USA) but we also have many of them purchasing their own equipment or product to save the lives of others.
I’ll repeat that in case someone was scrolling to fast. There are first responders that frequently buy their own equipment. From tools to disposable medical equipment.
Help those that help you and give what you can. If you don’t have a lot, talk to the station and see if their is a fundraising event that you can help promote. You can also check to see how the firefighters are supported through taxes and donations and get the community involved if your station needs help. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Recognize them on social media
Wether we want to admit it or maybe we wholeheartedly embrace it, social media is a big way we connect now. If a first responder made a difference in your life, share your story! Not only will the firefighters see it, but you’ll also show others how important it is to have a fully functional fire-station.
Who knows, you could have the next viral post! I love to see positive job well done posts in (what sometimes feels like) a sea of negative posts. Brighten up someones day and share good deeds when you can. It really does make a difference.
It can also do wonders for your community morale. Share it to some local community pages and let everyone see the job well done.
if you don’t use social media- write up a nice note and post it to local community boards (like the coffee shop, the library or the post office) You can also talk to the local newspaper and ask them to feature your kind words or even do an article on the awesome firefighters you have at your local station!
Bring them flowers. A plant. Plant a tree in their name.
Something is so peaceful about plants. They don’t require much but they are able to brighten up a space, without making it seem unnatural.
Firefighters would enjoy a beautiful arrangement or smaller plant. This is especially true for the receptionist at the fire station, he/she does a lot to keep the station running smoothly, and I’m sure they would appreciate flowers to brighten up their office space!
Another option is to plant a tree in their name. We have a tree that was dedicated to a war veteran in our town in the 1970’s, and as of 2018, it is a majestic oak!
I think planting trees in thanks or memoriam are a win win. They preserve nature and serve as a reminder to all those that visit. And unlike a bench, they don’t cost very much if they are planted while they are small. See if you can’t make it a community effort and dedicate a tree at the next local event where everyone can appreciate the gift.
Magazine subscription or a book
I say this one with a chuckle, most firefighters, contrary to popular belief, have very little down time. But when they do it can be nice to flip through a magazine to take their mind of the stresses of the job.
This can be a thoughtful gift to subscribe to every month, and some subscriptions offer packages of more than one magazine. A good example of a magazine could be National Geographic or Family Handyman.
Firefighters are also really good at cooking (cough cough, with exceptions).
So another great way to thank them would be with your favorite cook book! I know the guys at the station like to cook together a lot, but “taco night” can only get used so much before it gets boring!!! Do the firefighters a favor, bring them a cook book thats original yet easy, I’m sure it will get used!
If you don’t think a cook book would be appropriate, check out my list of recommended books for Firefighters to read. Maybe one of these resonates with you.
So there you have it-the list of gift ideas!
I do want to say as a disclaimer though, firefighters do love their food! I know a lot of churches and organizations in our city give food to the first responders, especially on holidays.
Firefighters have to be careful when it comes to food donations because their are bad people in this world. If you really want to give the station some goodies, check with them first to find out their guidelines.
Share this post with someone that wants to recognize a firefighter! They are there when we need them, so I love to share ways we can make their day!