How to Thank First Responders

First responders are true heroes. From police officers catching criminals to firefighters rushing into a burning building, you forget how first responders put their lives on the line to make life safer for everyone. You also forget all the different types of first responders you cross paths with, like lifeguards, EMTs, highway patrol officers, US Marshals, and more.

How do you say thank you to a hero? What small acts of kindness can you show to let them know how much you appreciate it? Take it from First Responders First: a thank you goes a long way.

How Do You Say Thank You to a First Responder?

It’s simple: just say thank you.

If you see a first responder out and about, try giving them a quick thank you for what they do. It’ll catch them off guard. It’ll make them smile. After all, saying “thank you” to someone often means more than any other gesture you show them.

How Else Can You Say Thank You to a First Responder?

There are many ways to say thank you to first responders. Consider when and how you interact with them during your week:

  • If you see firefighters at the grocery store, you can offer to pay for some of the groceries they’re picking up for the firehouse.
  • If there are EMTs in line at the local coffee shop, consider buying a cup of joe for them to start their day off right.
  • If you notice some first responders picking up lunch, offer to pay for their meal for them.

These small acts of kindness show your appreciation for what first responders do for the community. Share your prayers, your blessings, or your encouragement to them whenever they cross your path.

How to Say Thank You When a First Responder Helps You

Many people who interact with first responders because of an emergency often want to show their gratitude afterward. One of the easiest ways to do this is to drop a thank you card in the mail. You can even include gift cards for coffee, groceries, or a local restaurant for them to use.

A letter of thanks from your or your family members is a simple but thoughtful way to show medical professionals, first responders, dispatchers, law enforcement officers, and more just how much what they do for the community means to you.

Gift baskets themed around what first responders do or what they like can be a welcome surprise. You can buy a pre-made gift basket or make one yourself. For example, if you want to thank lifeguards, adding sunscreen, aloe vera, earplugs, and other water-themed items is a great way to say thank you. If you have kids, getting them involved with a gift like this makes it that much more personal for the first responders to receive.

You could drop off some pizzas for healthcare workers or paramedics, firefighters at fire stations, or police stations for the first responders who helped you. You can cook a meal at home, like a casserole or lasagna, and drop it off, too. Call ahead of time and ask what they like to eat and when is a good time to stop by with a hot meal.

If the first responders are associated with a charitable organization, you could donate in their name. Many firehouses or hospitals support children’s charities. Consider a donation to one of them to say thank you.

When your local first responders host a charity event or an open house, make sure to stop by and say hello. Contribute what you can to the event. Even small donations add up to make these local events successful. If they’re hosting a charity run or taking part in a parade, sign up and show up to cheer them on.

If you own a local business, consider offering a discount for first responders. Ten to 20% off your services, meals, etc., is a thank you that keeps saying thank you over time. You could offer a free item, like coffee or a drink. The possibilities on how to say thank you to first responders as a business owner are endless.

When you see first responders out in the community, give your thanks, however big or small. You never know what they’re going through, what their day will bring, or just how much that tiny gesture reminds them why they do what they do.