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For first responders, Christmas is no holiday

LANCASTER, Pa. — On Christmas morning, Chris DeLong was not with his wife and young son opening presents. The captain of Lancaster Fire Station 3, DeLong was on...

LANCASTER, Pa. — On Christmas morning, Chris DeLong was not with his wife and young son opening presents. The captain of Lancaster Fire Station 3, DeLong was on duty, along with 13 other firefighters.

"Somebody has the protect the city every day, 365, 24 hours a day," DeLong said.

For first responders, Christmas is no holiday

"Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day," DeLong said. "All the same."

In fact, holidays sometimes bring on even more work for firefighters. DeLong recalled a Thanksgiving several years ago when  attempting to cook the holiday dinner resulted in several disasters.

"Just my company ran six calls, and five out of the six calls were turkey related," he said.

Being away from family can be tough, DeLong said, but it’s important to create your own holiday spirit. The firefighters made their Christmas shift more festive with their own Christmas meal.

"We had a group breakfast this morning to celebrate Christmas and got together and had a little bit of a party," DeLong said. "It’s good to spend [holidays] with your ‘other family.'"

Some firefighters at Lancaster Fire Station 3 choose to celebrate Christmas on a different day, or sometimes their families can come visit them at the station—as long as they’re not out at a fire.

It's one more thing to be thankful for this holiday season: someone is looking out for us in case there’s an emergency.