I live between the local ambulance and fire stations, and just off the South Circular road A205, so get the pleasure of being aware when there is something going on around here. Which being South London, let's be honest, is most of the time.
Over time you learn to tell the difference between a police car passing through on blues, and a fire engine or 3 leaving the fire station on a call.
A lot of the time it is quite genuinely just background noise these days, and rarely gets my attention. But on quiet afternoons like today, on the build up to a massive evening in the capital, each siren that approaches and passes through is more noticeable, and stirs more thought and emotion in me.
Its the festive season, a new year is about to dawn. So many people are full of hope and expectation of what a new year will bring, but for a small few, the new year will be unforgettable. A knock on the door, the screech of brakes, the shrill of a smoke alarm waking you at 1am. For all those people, there are a dedicated bunch of emergency responders who will be there, saving them, comforting them, and most of all caring!
As the night draws in, my thoughts switch to those who are standing by for when someone needs their help, when three 9's are dialled. From the operator keeping you calm while directing the whole show, to the responder who will go above and beyond to put an end to the panic of the situation. For those in need of their help also.
So as the clock ticks, and midnight approaches and passes, spare a thought each time you see or hear an emergency vehicle on the move. Someone's NYE will not be as good as yours, and someone will remember it for a whole different reason to you. Families devastated, lives wrecks, memories destroyed.
Happy New Year..... May there be silence tonight.
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