On March 6, parts of the city of Hays were put at risk because of grass fires pushed by high winds. But for the efforts of firefighting crews, many could have lost homes and businesses, if not lives. The crews fought and won the battle with the fires.

It would be easy to call the firefighters heroes. I suggest they are much more than that. Instead, they demonstrated how well-trained and prepared they were for such an event. According to a quote in The Hays Daily News, “Such a grass fire has not been seen in our area in over 15 years.” Yet the firefighters (and those who assisted them) utilized their training and preparedness to protect and save the city.

A large portion of our practice is dealing with families in a crisis. It might be a chronic illness, a terminal illness or even frailty caused by aging issues. It also might be sudden, unexpected death.

For some of those families, we have been able to work with them to prepare them for such an event. We have talked about and played the “what if” game — what if you suddenly get sick, what if you die unexpectedly, what if you develop a chronic illness?

The planning we do takes into consideration those “what ifs.”

In the end, some families call us heroes. I like to think we are not heroes; that we are just well-trained and prepared. I also would suggest part of that success is because of our clients. They are the ones who allow us to be proactive in our planning. They allow us to partner with them to get prepared. They allow us to rally their family and other support systems during a time of crisis (much like the citizens and businesses of Hays rallied around the Hays firefighters).

In a time of crisis, it is time to rally the troops, but that rallying really needs to start well before a crisis develops. The Hays firefighters taught us an important lesson: There is nothing like being prepared, trained and having the available tools at the appropriate time. It is important to know when to call in help, and know how to coordinate that help.

To the Hays firefighters who fought the grass fires of March 6, and those who assisted them, thank you for doing your job, thank you for all of your training, thank you for being prepared, and thank you for saving our community.

Randy Clinkscales founded Clinkscales Elder Law Practice in 1985. He is a 1980 graduate of Washburn Law School and has represented clients at the administrative, county, state and federal levels.