Police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, 911 dispatchers—these are the brave individuals who selflessly serve and protect our communities.

These people have some of the most difficult, and thankless, jobs around. But they’re not in it for the thanks. These men and women do what they do out of a strong sense of duty and the desire to make their neighborhoods, towns, and cities, safer, stronger places.

That’s even more reason why we should go out of our way to thank them for their service this holiday season. Here are a few ways you can show your appreciation for everything these people do to make our lives better.

  1. Bring a holiday dish or treat to a fire station, EMS station, or police station—or all three. Public safety workers don’t get holidays off, so while you and I are sitting with our families enjoying a holiday meal, they’re either at their stations or out on a call. An EMS station with just two or three crew can make for a bit of a lonely day, so brighten it up by dropping off some food or treats. Homemade cookies, some turkey and stuffing, a casserole…anything goes, and you can be sure that it will be greatly appreciated and soon enjoyed.
  2. Write a thank-you note. Many people who interact with police, fire, or EMS feel moved to write thank-you notes—maybe a team of firemen responded to a house fire you were in, or a crew of paramedics saved your loved one’s life by getting them to a hospital after a heart attack. Those are wonderful, meaningful acts of gratitude, but they don’t need to be prompted by a particular event.
  3. This holiday season, consider writing a letter or card to one of your community public safety departments just to thank them in general for the good work they do. You could pick a station that serves your area, for example, and drop off the note with a wreath, or some other festive accompaniment. Are you a teacher? Your class could “adopt” a fire, police, or EMS station and write cards of thanks to the workers there.

  4. Drop off coffee for the morning shift. Any office worker knows that free coffee is always a good thing. The same is true for public safety workers, who pull 12 or 24 hour shifts and are on the go from early till late. If you’re a real early bird, pick up a to-go container of coffee—don’t forget cups, stirrers, cream, and sugar—and drop it off at a station right before the morning shift arrives (often that’s between 6 and 6:45 a.m., but check with your local departments).
  5. Of course, coffee is a welcome treat any time of day, so if getting there at 6 a.m. is a stretch, just drop it off when you can. Workers are in and out of stations all day, so chances are someone will be there to enjoy it at some point.

  6. And don’t forget the emergency dispatchers. These “invisible first responders” work hard just like police, fire, and EMS, but they don’t get remembered as often. If you’ve ever had to call 911 and get help from a dispatcher—or even if you’ve been fortunate enough to never have to call the number—this season is a wonderful time to thank them. Food, coffee, and thank-you notes will be just as appreciated by these dispatchers as they are by other public safety officers.

We hope this list gives you some good ideas for how to thank your community’s police, fire, and EMS workers this holiday season. We at KOVA care deeply about the public safety organizations and people we work with, and want to express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all they do to protect and serve the rest of us in our communities.

To learn more about how we’re working to make public safety workers’ jobs easier in the field, read about our app, SilentPartner.

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