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With Halloween in our rearview mirrors, let’s take a moment to consider what happened in Moretown last weekend when the Moretown Volunteer Fire Department put on a haunted house for local and visiting children.
There was an earlier time when the haunted house was appropriate for younger children and a later time when it was appropriate for older children. Inadvertently some young children were exposed to the gore and horror and scariness meant for their elders.
They were scared and their parents were upset and said as much to event organizers who apologized. And that should have been the end of that –but it was not.
Parents complained publically on an electronic community bulletin board, which led to more public postings of support and criticism towards the event and the fire department itself.
Although some hateful things were said on Front Porch Forum, the electronic community board where this was taking place, perhaps the most inappropriate was the suggestion that somehow, by hosting this community event the fire department would then be unwilling and unable and disinclined to respond to an emergency.
Simply put, that’s a bunch of hogwash. It’s also rude, not true and insulting to the volunteer firefighters who spend a great deal of their free time training to respond to emergencies at our homes -- and respond any time of night or day.
To suggest that hosting a community event precludes responding to an emergency is ignorant. How many fire departments and ambulance services regularly host a game dinner or a Father’s Day pancake breakfast, or a community barbeque or chicken pie supper?
Dozens of these organizations that are in the emergency business hold dozens of these events each year. They are smart enough to coordinate their equipment, supplies and people in such a way that they can respond to an emergency should one arise.
It was in bad taste for the irked party to continue to berate the fire department spokesperson electronically. She had already apologized publically and electronically and acknowledged that younger kids were accidentally exposed to scary things meant for older kids.
This was not Sea World or Walt Disney World where thousands of paid employees work all day and night to create the appropriate allusions. It was an event created for the community by the fire department with no desire to harm or frighten anyone inappropriately.