How do you know?

We all know anyone involved in the firefighting and rescue community is no stranger to stress...
Mike31
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

How do you know?

Postby Mike31 » Fri May 27, 2011 1:14 am

I`m hoping to be a FF in the future but am taking both paramedics and pre-service. I`ve talked to a lot full-time fire fighters and I have heard a lot of stories. I always wonder, how do these people know that they can handle some of the things they are inevitably going to see? Every time I ask them i`m told that it isn`t something you can prepare yourself for and that it gets easier as time goes on. How did you know you could handle some of the more gruesome calls? Or did you?

pattaboy
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby pattaboy » Fri May 27, 2011 7:12 am

It's a really good question, and it's something that I would suspect everyone has asked at least themselves at one point or another.

For me I didn't know, I had an Idea about how I would react, but until you are knees deep in it you just can't be sure. the real kicker is you will never know!
you can role to a 100 MVA's and have it not bother you one bit. MVA 101 comes along and it could be the type of car... the shirt someone is wearing or just something that's happened at home and it can mess with you a little bit, and then you might be fine for the ne next few hundred.

My trick is use the support systems that are in place when you need them. Don't be affraid to vent... to ask questions.... speak to a qualified person. We are lucky in this day and age that Critical Incident Stress management is well established in the services, and it's a great tool that you should always use when needed.

Good Luck... be strong... be safe.

Mike31
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby Mike31 » Mon May 30, 2011 6:18 pm

Thanks for the post, that`s very reassuring!

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Rainmanjb
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Postby Rainmanjb » Mon May 30, 2011 9:04 pm

just pplease do not be the guy we had a few weeks ago in our hall....

Got on the job, made it through the academy, worked first shift (stayed up pacing all night long!) booked off sick the second shift and quit the third shift......

You should at least know yourself enough by now in your life that you may or may not be cut out for the job!!!

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FireNuke
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 9:00 pm

What?

Postby FireNuke » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:21 pm

[quote=""Rainmanjb""]just pplease do not be the guy we had a few weeks ago in our hall....

Got on the job, made it through the academy, worked first shift (stayed up pacing all night long!) booked off sick the second shift and quit the third shift......

You should at least know yourself enough by now in your life that you may or may not be cut out for the job!!![/quote]


You have got to be kidding, that didn't actually happen did it?

Mike31
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby Mike31 » Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:49 pm

[quote=""Rainmanjb""]just pplease do not be the guy we had a few weeks ago in our hall....

Got on the job, made it through the academy, worked first shift (stayed up pacing all night long!) booked off sick the second shift and quit the third shift......

You should at least know yourself enough by now in your life that you may or may not be cut out for the job!!![/quote]


WOW, that is insane! I definitely understand what the job entails and I feel I can handle it, especially when all of the adrenaline is pumping at a call.

Thanks!

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ROOKIELZ
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby ROOKIELZ » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:13 am

I think you can never be 100% certain that you will be able to handle everything you see, do, smell, etc. However, since I work in a health care full time, I know that blood, body fluids, people in distress don't generally trigger me into an unpleasant place. I will have empathy yes, but 20+ years in that field gave me the advantage when I signed on to know what I COULD handle and I figured I would just deal with the rest as it came along.

I am sure one day something will happen and it will be tough for me but it hasn't happened yet. It's been 10 years; I have no idea when I will have to pay the piper for an ugly incident. I don't kid myself that the piper is coming for me. He is. Just don't know when.

I suspect it helps that I am fairly task oriented and can block out some things, too.

Should something ugly happen, talk with the others, use CISD, get your head read, whatever it takes as long as it is not a self-destructive method. Don't let it destroy you.

I also think that people need to realize that some of our calls are not movie style thrillers. Some are rather mundane, others are high stakes. You never know what you have until you are there. No sense fretting ahead of time.
If you are willing to teach,
I am willing to learn

IACOJ

WolfmanHarris
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby WolfmanHarris » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:56 pm

It's hard to know what will hit you and you can drive yourself a bit batty trying to figure it out and dwelling on possibilities. Better to focus on the things that will keep you healthy, maintain a work life-balance and cope if something does happen. Don't make work your life. Have things you love and enjoy that can pull you away from the bad times. Other than that it's the people around you that help you get through the most. They know exactly what you're going through in a way your family and friends away from work can't.

On Christmas Eve I ran two VSA. One medical first thing in the morning. We pronounced and notified the family. Not a big deal, but the timing made it harder. Later that day we did a traumatic VSA with entrappment, possible decapitation, right around the corner just as we were clearing the hospital. Our response time was mere seconds and when were arrived the Pt. was trapped by the head, unresponsive but alive with no was to access them from the neck up. Fire wasn't far out but in that short time she stopped breathing. If was a difficult extrication and I lost the pulse while she was still being extricated. We got her back, but only for her to die a few hours later with her family present. One of the response unit medics who came it was his fourth VSA of the day. It was enough to drive anyone around the bend, but a good hour spent shooting the shit in the reporting room at the hospital, some awful jokes and a BIG coffee and I went home feeling okay. I did end up needing to tap out for a couple days to be with my family and refocus, but it was WAY easier having so many people behind me.

Never be afraid to make use of the resources available. Whether it's your Employee Assistance Program, the service's CISM team, your Doctor, don't hide it when you have a problem. It will only make it worse in the long run.

Also check out http://www.tema.ca. They do incredible work. They also sell a little flip book on stress management as a fundraiser that's worth the $15 as a resource to keep around.

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dentedhead
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Postby dentedhead » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:21 pm

[quote=""Mike31""]WOW, that is insane! I definitely understand what the job entails and I feel I can handle it, especially when all of the adrenaline is pumping at a call.

Thanks![/quote]


I can gaurantee you you know SFA about what the job entails. I thought I knew when I got on and I had worked EMS for a long time.....wrong.There is way more to the job than charging around in a BRT saving babies and gettin' phone numbers.Some get it sooner than others and some of those "others" end up going down a road of misery.You dont know until you have had to handle it more than once.

I guess I am not the norm I havent had an adreniline rush for a long time,and that was epi induced after a medical procedure caused a dysrythmia.Do I have concern about what I am going to face? Yes, do I get "amped up" nope. Dont mistake that for not giving a shit or being too stoopid too know what might be waiting but getting all jerked up dosednt help in the end,it is likely the second leading cause of fireground MI's.The first is lifestyle.

Dentedhead
Thousand a week for hide and seek on call when Im paid to be.

pompier5
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby pompier5 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:34 pm

I've been on the job for over 20 years now... I didn't know then how I would react, and I know now that there isn't any definitive answer to that question either. you can be ok for most calls, but a certain type of call or type of person (like children) can get you all screwy... The main thing is staying focused on the task at hand, keeping in mind that every little bit you do is actually giving the person a chance to recover. After the job is done, well... just let it out. Talk to people who have walked in your shoes, or to the professionals, or whoever you can confide in, but don't keep it in. You will also never forget. A little bit of every person you will work on will stay with you forever. Don't dwell on it, but instead use that to your advantage. Every image that I keep in my head reminds me that life is definite. It helps me to be a better person, to make my skills better so I can better treat the next person and to have more empathy. After each call, you have learned and grown. That helps me... might not work for every one, but it does for me. And the biggest rule... If you're gonna make yourself sick about one specific call, turn around and walk away. do something else for that call (if you can, of course)... and come back stronger for the next one.


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