KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saturday, people across the country took the time to say thank you to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders for their service and response during emergencies.

“They sign up for those jobs not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard and challenging,” said retired FBI Special Agent Jeff Lanza. “They do it to protect other people, and sometimes they put their lives at risk.”

Every day, first responders put themselves in harm’s way to keep other people safe, whether that be running into a burning building, providing emergency medical care, or responding to a tragedy.

“Maine is just one example, and it’s a very sad example of the things that have happened around the country over the past several years. You think about what happens when that occurs, and we have orders to go out and find this person that’s responsible for these mass shootings, and it’s just like, put on your bulletproof vest, get out there with your firearm and find this person,” Lanza explained. “You could be a target during those situations, too. But that’s what first responders do – respond to the situations to keep the public safe.”

Officer Samantha Parkhurst has been with the Kansas City Police Department for 18 years and says every day is different.

“Every day, we do something different. It’s never the same routine,” Parkhurst explained. ”When it comes to 911 calls, a lot of people just don’t understand that we go to the accidents, the burglaries, the stolen autos; we do a wide perspective of everything.”

Michael Tabman, a retired FBI Agent and former police officer, emphasized the importance of agencies working together during a crisis.

“When you’re in a crisis, you’re in danger; you need someone who should get there quickly and know what to do; know how to put out a fire, know how to stop a robbery, know how to provide CPR, whatever the situation is,” Tabman said. “Not everybody can do that. It takes training, it takes skill, and it takes a commitment to do that.”