A serious connection to home


It can be hard enough hearing the sirens in the distance, but watching a loved one suit up and head out the door to get in an emergency vehicles is something many families in Pictou County deal with.

For Bernie Murphy of Westville, he is the loved one going out the door to help those in need, a duty he signed up for as a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Westville.

During this year’s mock accident for Northumberland Regional High School, things were a bit different for Murphy, however, as his daughter, who is graduating this year, was there watching as part of the audience.

“It really hits home,” he said about having his daughter watch the reenactment. “All you’re really thinking about is what you have to do; it’s afterward that you really think about it.”

Murphy shared that he has been a volunteer firefighter for 10 years now and as his daughter Ashley gets older, he shares more information with her about the importance of things like not being impaired and driving or getting in a car with someone who is impaired.

“Afterwards, I kept thinking I hope I never see you on the side of the highway,” he added about giving the presentation to not only his daughter but her friends and the other kids he knows at the school. He believes that having students see a mock accident first-hand does more than a conversation could to prevent impaired-related crashes.

“Do whatever you have to do to be safe, don’t get in a car unless you’re 100 per cent sure (the driver is) not impaired,” he said. “All pride, modestly and reputation aside.”

The experience was entirely something else for the students in the audience who have parents as first responders as well.

“I found it interesting. I got to realize how much of an impact he has on the community by helping people and saving people,” said Ashley Murphy. “I feel like his warnings, they hit closer to home because he is experiencing that.”

Karley Dixon was also in the audience last week during the mock accident and saw her mother make her way to where the sirens wail as she has duties as a volunteer firefighter and a paramedic.

“It hits a little closer to home because my mom sees it daily,” Dixon said. She also had the opportunity to watch the reenactment last year as well and added that it is a powerful message.

“It’s honestly kind of amazing to me that she can give up all her free time and help people like that. She’s a hero,” said Dixon.

One of the fake victims from the mock crash stays in character as she lays in a unit used to carry people, off to the side of the fake wreck. (Brimicombe photo)