We were born with curious minds that want to know. Like many others, when I hear sirens, I naturally wonder where they're going and feel and urge to chase after them.
On Aug. 9 they came for me on the east side of Swift Current Creek on the Elmwood Golf Course.
It wasn't the "old guy" who must have had a heart attack, or the "young guy" who had too much to drink. (I've made those same assumptions!). It was just a regular guy going about his business, who also happened to live with a medical condition, as others do.
It could be any number of people in our community of various ages for a variety of reasons at any time.
When I hear those sirens now, I'll still be curious. But I'll also be much more aware, knowing the valuable, life-saving, professional services they provide at a moment's notice, 24 hours a day. I thank them for being there.
I invite all of us to be more aware, more of the time, with appreciation for the quality of emergency services available in this community. Who know, the next time the sirens sound, they may be coming to you.
This letter is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of using DEET, the active ingredient in most common mosquito sprays and creams. I believe my health problem is directly linked to its over use. Duke University Medical School has done extensive research on its effects on the brain and nervous system. DEET was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946. It was approved for domestic use in 1957. It is a registered pesticide. When it is applied to the skin, 56 to 70 per cent penetrates through the skin and 15 to 17 per cent enters the bloodstream. It then travels directly to the brain, where it's know to cause problems with memory, cognitive function and seizures. Children are more vulnerable than adults. West Nile has become the scare tactic to promote its use. While West Nile is a serious concern, the dangers of DEET should cause us to think twice and look for alternative. They are out there and becoming more available all the time. When you slap it on be aware and know the risk.
Maybe nothing will happen, or you may end up like me - wishing you had known then what you know now.
Herman J. Wiebe - Swift Current