There's never a bad time to be reminded of the kind of dangers our first responders face.

Usually, however, we think of that when there's a fire, or an accident with combustible conditions.

Recently, however, circumstances have thrown another curveball our way: Rain.

The kind of flooding caused by heavy rainfall over the last few weeks feels unprecedented, certainly unlike anything in recent memory. Rainfall for February is at historic levels, and the level of Lake Cumberland is on its way there as well.

This has caused roads to be covered over with water in many cases, trapping people on the other side. The concern is that if there's a fire, or a medical emergency, fire trucks and ambulances can't get there. To do so would be to put the lives of those responders in danger as well.

So you need additional help. Doug Baker, Chief of the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team, said that his unit and others have the equipment ready to assist those in need. That includes flat-bottom boats to get across relatively shallow but impassable pools of water, to get people who have emergencies to safety.

Think about the pressure-packed situations that firefighters or EMT personnel are under anyway. Now imagine how much more difficult their job becomes when they can't get to the place where they're trying to go because of high waters, and how they have to take special measures to do their jobs.

But they do their jobs despite all that. They get it done. They help the people in need.

Moreover, the oversaturated ground poses a threat. Sinkholes have been opening up, posing a danger to those nearby. We've already seen one sinkhole take down a truck here in the Somerset city limits. If anyone gets hurt or trapped because of a sinkhole, responders have to come and help -- and that puts their safety at risk too.

But they do it nonetheless.

One can only hope we've seen the end of this seemingly Biblical rainfall for a while. Even so, the effects of the flooding are sure to linger and cause more problems. And our emergency personnel will be there.

The rainfall is just one more reminder of what these public servants do for us -- crossing flooded areas, battling sinkholes, even driving in a hurry on wet roads. They put themselves in harm's way so we can be out of it.

For that, they deserve our appreciation and our admiration.

So if you see a first responder, tell them thanks.

And, if you like, try to stay dry.

THE COMMONWEALTH JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD consists of Michael McCleery, General Manager; Jeff Neal, Editor; Steve Cornelius, Sports Editor; Bill Mardis, Editor Emeritus; Mark Walker, Circulation Director; Mary Ann Flynn, Advertising; and Chris Harris, Staff Writer.

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