Since the beginning of the pandemic, emergency situations have kept increasing, and we have been busy saving lives. I know we put ourselves in harm’s way every time we help someone; don’t think for a second that we are not scared… Every time we administer first aid, we are terrified, especially when we have to through the disinfection protocol before we go home to our families. We also get scared when we hear that a fellow rescuer is infected with the virus.

For the past 12 years, we have been helping in the wake of horrific terrorist attacks, major natural disasters, tsunamis or earthquakes as in Haiti or in Nepal, but this is different: for the past 3 weeks, we have been stressed out, we are tense, we are worried and we burst out crying for no reason. One of my teammates told me this morning that he woke up crying after dreaming that he had infected his whole family. I told him I was familiar with that nightmare, that several rescuers –including me- had experienced it.

No one knows how long this is going to last… What I fear the most is having our rescuers, who are doing God’s work, give in to the pressure. They are helping patients left and right, only to learn shortly after that one of those patients tested positive for COVID 19, or died even… At that point, they start to worry about getting infected themselves despite all the safety measures. Needless to say, all our volunteer rescuers have chosen to keep helping people while being aware of the risks involved. Nothing can deter a rescuer, for he or she enlisted to save lives.

I see the whole world is cheering, smiling, sending gifts. Over the last few days, hundreds of benefactors have donated money on 1donpournosheros.com to help EMTs in France. And I realize that in these dark times we are all experiencing, kindness, gratitude and humanity are shining brighter than ever.