Tuesday, November 20 2012, 08:30 AM CST
First responders gear up for increased calls during holiday season
JEFFERSON COUNTY - By Megan Dillard - Thanksgiving is just days away.
Many people are getting ready for holiday meals and time with family.
There is another group of people preparing for this busy time of year.
First responders take calls 365 days a year.
As we approach what they call their busiest season, Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies and a fire chief explain some of the holidays' most challenging calls and ways you can help prevent them.
The holiday season is quickly approaching Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies are prepared.
"Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. The reason I stopped you is because I saw you cross that white line back there."
Deputies say traffic stops like this one greatly increase during the holiday season.
"This is actually the deadliest time period on the roadways both for the intoxicated driver, as well as other people on the roadway. You need to be careful."
Deputy Rod Carroll says alcohol-related calls see the biggest jump, followed by family violence calls and suicides.
"People become depressed during this time period due to changes in their lives, whether it's the death of another loved one, whether it's a divorce, things that have changed in their lives during this past year."
Deputy Dustin Unruh is one of many deputies patrolling the streets during this busy time.
"We know that there's going to be more traffic on the roadways. Family visiting family."
A new father himself, Unruh knows the importance of protecting families by keeping the roads safe.
Labelle Fannett Fire Chief Charles Sonnier is also keeping an eye and ear out during this busy season.
One of the season's biggest culprits?
"The biggest thing with space heaters is they're put up all summer long. Then when they pull them out, spiderwebs and all that stuff has grown inside. So if you use them, blow them out and clean them up real good."
Sonnier also says this year's dry weather and lack of rain will cause fires to spread quickly.
"If you're outside and you build a fire, don't leave it uncontained. The wind will pick up real fast and next thing you know, we'll have a big fire, and we'll be out there fighting fires instead of being with our families for Thanksgiving."
Home with the family: a goal not just for these first responders, but their hope for all the people in southeast Texas.
"Zero calls would be great, but we probably know that's not going to happen, but hey. We're here, we're ready to go and we're here to support our community."
Deputies say the busy season starts this week with Thanksgiving and lasts through the first of the year.