Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 15, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuttduy, May 13, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 3 Few rangytang characters or fires trouble wives of police and firemen Wives of policeman and fire- fighters in Toronto and Mon- treal learn to live with fear. Some keep their radio turned off while their husbands are on duty. Some wonder if their morning goodbye kiss was the last. Their Lethbridge sisters ap- pear less troubled by the pres- sures and dangers of their hus- band's jobs, which apparently do not spill over into family The serenity of the local wives is due in no small mea- sure to the safety records of the city police and fire depart- ments. Only one policeman, 32-year- old Calvin Byam, has been kill- ed on duty, according to Police Chief Ralph Michelson. He was drowned in the Oldman River on June 10, 1964. ''We haven't had anyone in- jured as a result of criminal activity for many the chief said. "We have had sev- eral serious incidents where danger and weapons were in- volved, but no police injuries. "We hope and like to think our training has had some ef- fect on the lack of injuries on duty." Fire Chief Wilfred L. Russell said "to my knowledge, we've never lost a man at a fire" al- though a fire in the McFarland Block in the thirties contri- buted to the death of a fireman who was overcome by chemi- cal fumes. There have been minor acci- dents, he admitted. "We've had a man fall off a truck on the way to a fire and things like that. PAT FIRTH Pat Firth, mother of four small children, said she doesn't '-ordinarily" worry about hus- band, Don, a fireman first class, who's been with the fire department nine years. "But when there's a general alarm, I do." A general alarm is sounded By MAUREEN JAMIESON, Herald Family Editor only for a major fire like the blaze which destroyed the Leth- bridge arena May 10, 1971, she explained. In such an event, all firemen both on and off duty are called in. "Don's never been injured or overcome by she said. "He was burned once, very slightly, at the fair when one of the deep fryers caught on fire, but it was nothing much. "There's nothing he's ever bad to have treatment for." Since the fire department changed to the new shifts, "things are a lot better than they used to said Mrs. Firth. "They only work two shifts a day now, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. "Now we always get supper together." "They work four days and get two off, then work four more and got sis off. "I don't worry about him at she smiled. I don't think I'm the worrying type, but then I think they've only had one general alarm, Value Village, this year, so far." ELSIE FRAYN Elsie Frayn has three young- sters. Her husband, Robert, is also a fireman first class. He has been with the department "about 6 years." Does slie worry when her husband is out fighting a fire? "Oh yes. I guess you sort of get used to it, but if you know there is a fire on especially a general alarm, "The operator calls, and he just doesn't have time to tell you what it's all about, so you're curious snd worried. "But there haven't been too many big ones she said. "He hasn't really been hurt but he twisted his ankle at a fire once. He stepped off the sidewalk." "I don't really mind" the Jong hours, she claimed. Fire- men "have quite a lot of time at borne. They only work a short week, but they put in quite a few hours. "I only notice it when there's home and school (asso- ciation meeting) and a few other things my husband should come to. It usually falls on his shift night." BETH SCHWEITZER Both Schweitzer's husband, Cleason, is a station sergeant with the city police and has been on the force "roughly 23 years." They have four children and two small grandchildren. "I don't get too involved in his Mrs. Schweitzer ad- mitted. "He doesn't come home and tell me about it. "Actually I don't worry any more about his particular job. You can walk across the street and get hit by a car. "Frankly, I'd be a lot more concerned if he was out on the road day after day, when all these accidents occur. Mrs. Schweitzer's g r e a t est problem, she said, was with anonymous phone calls. "There's been the odd phone call that's upset me. There's a lot of rangytang characters around, but you get so you can tell" whether the caller is gen- uine. "I've always accepted it as a she said of her hus- band's job, "and if I had con- cern, no one knew. "I think that's one of the worst things if you portray your concern and let your fam- ily know it. "Any situation 'can erupt into she said. "You walk into a building that's broken into; you don't know what's go- ing to meet you on the other side." Sgt. Schweitzer has never been injured in the line of duty, according to his wife, who said she considered injuries in the force have been few "mostly, I think, during traffic accidents." Snm work frequently "uspets social functions and interferes with your family life and then they are on 24-hour she said. "They v.ork every holiday if it falls ori their shift. Yes, they get extra money for she stressed, "but be it Christmas, New Year or the first of July, they work it, and it interferes with family life. "But if that's the kind of work he wants. I'm quite willing to Yvonne Harris still worries about husband Doug, who join- ed the police force in 19G5. "Maybe I don't worry as much as I used said the mother of two. "He's the court constable now. He was a traf- fice constable before, and I did worry then very much so." Although he was never in- jured, "you always read about what can happen when they just stop a car, and you winder if it would. "But he never discussed these things too she said. ''He doesn't bring his problems home. "He started out on the beat with round the clock shift work." This created no problems "until our little girl started YVONNE HARRIS school. Everyone else had weekends off and holidays were also difficult. "It was an upheaval with him going out at all hours or coming said Mrs. Harris. "When he was on shifts and was supposed to be home by midnight and didn't come till two boy, you worried! "You didn't know if he was doing up reports or out on something! "But we can lead a more nor- mal life now. Mrs. Harris said she djdn't try to stop her husband joining the force or persuade him to leave. "He thoroughly enjoys his she saw.