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As families enjoy the holidays, some emergency service officials remain on duty

Emergency service officials say COVID-19 has brought a heavier load to their holiday routes.

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — No day is predictable for a first responder, and during the holidays it stays a toss-up.

Officer LuAnna Brook of the Lower Paxton Township Police Department says COVID-19 has made it even more complicated.

"Throughout the pandemic things were very slow for a while, they started to build up again and we're really not sure today what to expect," said Brook.

Officer Brook says the holiday festivities can create trouble among people. She says when people begin to drink, more incidents arise.

Brook cautions those at home about high theft during this time of year and has some tips when going out shopping.

"You don't really need to carry a purse inside a store if you can carry in your credit card or cash- whatever you're taking in a pocket," she said.

When it's time to head back to the car with your items, Brook says one should put the items in the car, lock the car doors, take the shopping cart to where you would like to park it, and then go back to your car. This way your items won't be left for anyone who is fishing for it.

Along with crime, emergency officials are working around the clock to respond to emergencies of any kind.

"Heart attacks, strokes, you know traumatic injuries, that stuff never really stops," said Joe Carr, captain of Lancaster EMS.

The mental health of others is also on the radar of Carr's team as he explains they've seen many around the holidays who feel they are alone.

"We usually see an uptick of both suicide attempts and actually folks who are successful in taking their own life," he said, "Lives have been lost, and I think it becomes very difficult for folks to adjust and overcome some of those emotions of not having that loved one around the Christmas tree."

The pandemic has brought shortages in all aspects of daily life including those in emergency services and law enforcement.

Officer Brook says the Lower Paxton Township Police Department has seen its wave of shortages with a few services members being infected with COVID-19.

Captain Carr told FOX43, Lancaster EMS has 20-25 vacancies and it only makes it tougher to combat emergencies quickly with hospitals continuing to be overflowed with patients.

"More units are taken off the street waiting for a bed at the hospital," said Carr.

Though the holidays can be tough both Brook and Carr say they are happy to be serving their community.

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