Celebrating Through Art
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but this photo mural by artist Laura Pantelakis says just one thing: thank you.
The photo wall is located proudly in the front entryway of the headquarters of Riverdale Fire Services in a suburban city just south of Atlanta, Georgia—and is made up of photo art of each member of the department. Pantelakis photographed each person in front of a black background, but that was just the starting place to develop these incredible images. Well-placed lighting ensures the wall lights up with a dramatic effect, especially at night.
The idea for the mural came from Fire Chief B. Nishiyama Willis, who wanted to use the empty space to honor the firefighters and EMTs of Riverdale. “This is a little department, with two stations—not much money,” EMS Medical Director James Augustine, MD, FACEP, said. “But Nish Willis is just a great woman who previously held a deputy chief role in Atlanta Fire … She decided the front wall, which is visible from the front of the building, should be dedicated to their providers.”
Pantelakis, the girlfriend of a Riverdale firefighter, was eager to help with the project. Her father was a volunteer firefighter, and she understands just how rough the job of a firefighter/EMT can be. Since then, her art has focused on giving communities the ability to appreciate those who fight for them on a daily basis.
“I’m so proud of her work and very grateful that she showed what an awesome group of firefighter/EMTs we have here in Riverdale,” Willis said.
We give a thumbs up to Pantelakis and Willis for honoring local heroes in a big, bold way. We also, of course, salute Riverdale’s first responders for their priceless service to the community, which deserves to be celebrated.
The Power of IFAK
Quick police response has already been praised after a shooting at a Lafayette, La., movie theater in July. Tragically, two victims were killed in the incident, but as seen in the case of the 2012 Aurora, Colo., theater shooting (where 12 people died), the loss of life could’ve been much worse.
Officials are attributing the low number of fatalities to police who used individual first aid kits (IFAKs) at the scene. IFAKs generally contain tourniquets, gauze, pressure bandages and gloves, and are designed to be used by an officer on her or himself if shot in the line of duty. Officers are also typically trained to use them on fellow officers in the first few minutes after an injury occurs so precious time isn’t lost while waiting for prehospital providers to arrive, especially if a scene is still active.
However, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said officers were able to stop massive bleeding on multiple people by using items from the kits. Hemorrhage-control equipment was helpful in stabilizing injured people before ambulances arrived. About nine people had been injured in the gunfire. Police responders truly thought on their feet, and because of their quick decision-making, were able to save lives.
We give a thumbs up to the Lafayette Police Department for not only carrying the lifesaving kits, but also knowing how to use them. We praise the department for being proactive in its medical training and outfitting. Because they acted quickly, lives were saved.