I just need to vent....I have talked with a guy from my volunteer hall (retired military SAR tech) about this and it helped.
Last Friday night (May 16) driving home around 9:30 PM south of Warkworth, Ontario after working out of town all week I came across an accident. OPP had 2 vehicles on scene, fire and ambulance had not arrived yet.
I saw a transport tanker truck on its side in the West ditch (heading north) and a chev cavalier in the west shoulder that had been "t-boned" on the driver side.
I grabbed some gloves and introduced myself to the OPP officer that I was a volunteeer FF and if I could help. He asked me to try and help him find a pulse of the victims. I went up to the car and saw 3 young women. I tried to find a pulse on all three and could not. By this time Fire and paramedics were arriving.
I could not help out any more and told the OPP I was leaving. He thanked me for helping and asked if I was alright. I said I was.
After driving the 25 minutes home I could not help think of the 3 young lives that were taken so quickly and the 3 families that will never be the same. I also felt bad for the truck driver who has to live with this for the rest of his life.
I heard on the news that the women were 19-20 years old and were killed at the scene. They were all from a small local town. The news reported they made a "U-turn" in front of the transport.
Sorry for the long post, I know I will have this (and other) images in my head for a long time and I have made freinds with them knowing I did the best I could do.
I drove by the location of the MVC today. Their are many bunches of flowers and three crosses.
I read about this accident in the Ottawa Sun today. It's a shame; the three of them were so young.
It was really a senseless accident, and we will probably never know what exactly possessed the young woman to pull a U-Turn in front of a tanker truck that she had recently passed, but you can know that you did everything you could do...
You can use this experience as inspiration and drive to do your best to help other responders who encounter similar incidents, as well as future victims of similar circumstances. You can use this experience as a way to deter others from doing the same, and thereby prevent it from happening again.
Whatever you choose to do, don't choose to beat yourself up about it. It was way beyond your control. The girls were DOA, and you couldn't have done anything other than what you did.
Good on you for offering help when you were needed, and I will say the same as the rest of the guys--seek out Critical Incident Stress management...
When I perform a rescue, I am in a state of mind that is all about work and being part of a team that works to rescue the person. In your case, the human element was that much greater.
You are doing the right thing. Talk about it. Don't let it eat you. Be active. Be social. Watch your sllep pattern and your appetite. DO NOT HESITATE TO CONSULT. Your reaction is NORMAL.
Professionals train until they can't do it wrong.
Not so easy when the people you are around more often than not can't empathize with you. It's hard not to want to talk to people about it, but at the same time some of them get so upset about it you feel doubly horrible even bringing it up.
Times are changing and it's not frowned on to get some help- in fact, if you want longevity in the field you need to maintain your body AND your mind. Sometimes, writing it out is enough- other times, it's not.
Best of luck with it... keep us posted!
Firefighter / EMT-A
HFD / OFD
"To me, the charm of an encyclopedia is that it knows and I needn't."
I got called out yesterday evening for a VSA. I'm on quite a roll. 0 for 4
In all seriousness, I am doing good I have pretty much talked to everyone that will listen, I brought it up during training night with hall and it has really helped. Hopefully I have shown some of the younger guys that it does not make you less of a man to act tough and keep it bottled in, it will blow eventually.
On a positive note I am looking forward to sitting at the Rogers Centre tonight while my Daughter and her school choir sings the national anthems for the Jays game.
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