How do you make the faces go away?

We all know anyone involved in the firefighting and rescue community is no stranger to stress...
User avatar
TROYG
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

How do you make the faces go away?

Postby TROYG » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:54 am

I have only been doing this for about 5 years on a small department, but most of our calls are MVC and being a rural area we know most. We had 126 calls last year and alot of those are MVC or medical assist. Yesterday added a new face to my list. We rolled on an MVC and the young guy I was working on was bad. He was talking and just wanted to go home, we knew him. I kept telling him we would fix him up and get him home. I rode in the bus taking him to the hospital and he went into defib about 2km down the road. We did everything we could and never stopped cpr until the emerg doctor pulled us off and called him. I am not normally some sissy who can't deal with his problems but this is just eating me up. And all the faces just keep coming back now. I don't normally drink but yesterday had to put back alot of rum just to close my eyes and sort of sleep. Just looking for some advice I guess or possibly just getting it off my chest.

User avatar
dentedhead
Posts: 6453
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby dentedhead » Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:14 pm

[quote=""TROYG""]I have only been doing this for about 5 years on a small department, but most of our calls are MVC and being a rural area we know most. We had 126 calls last year and alot of those are MVC or medical assist. Yesterday added a new face to my list. We rolled on an MVC and the young guy I was working on was bad. He was talking and just wanted to go home, we knew him. I kept telling him we would fix him up and get him home. I rode in the bus taking him to the hospital and he went into defib about 2km down the road. We did everything we could and never stopped cpr until the emerg doctor pulled us off and called him. I am not normally some sissy who can't deal with his problems but this is just eating me up. And all the faces just keep coming back now. I don't normally drink but yesterday had to put back alot of rum just to close my eyes and sort of sleep. Just looking for some advice I guess or possibly just getting it off my chest.[/quote]


First when will everyone stop equating being affected by a traumatic event with being a sissy? We all have different abilty to process CI or triggers but the end result is the same.

You should have a debriefing with all involved not just your mob but also EMS and police if they are interested.I dont want to sound like a donny dont but having been at this for a very long time and being on a peer support team when I worked in EMS you pretty much did the exact opposite of what is good for you,booze or drugs only make it go away for short time and if left to fester you will spend years running away from it or anestihizing yourself.The only way to deal with critical events is to find coping mechanisms that work for you.There are plenty out there,does your muncipality offer an EAP option? Or if you have benifits with your employer look into that.I am not implying that is what you need right now but if you keep quashing it you are going to find it will start eating you alive.Yes geting it off your chest is half the battle.

If you want some solid info and education on CISM,PTSD or ather avenues of help check out the website for the Tema Conter Foundation.

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

guitarmedic87
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby guitarmedic87 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:02 pm

[quote=""TROYG""]I have only been doing this for about 5 years on a small department, but most of our calls are MVC and being a rural area we know most. We had 126 calls last year and alot of those are MVC or medical assist. Yesterday added a new face to my list. We rolled on an MVC and the young guy I was working on was bad. He was talking and just wanted to go home, we knew him. I kept telling him we would fix him up and get him home. I rode in the bus taking him to the hospital and he went into defib about 2km down the road. We did everything we could and never stopped cpr until the emerg doctor pulled us off and called him. I am not normally some sissy who can't deal with his problems but this is just eating me up. And all the faces just keep coming back now. I don't normally drink but yesterday had to put back alot of rum just to close my eyes and sort of sleep. Just looking for some advice I guess or possibly just getting it off my chest.[/quote]

It sounds like you did a fantastic job on this call. Unfortunately sometimes no matter what we do the outcome is not what we want. What you need to realize is that what you are feeling right now, is normal. It sounds as though you experienced and very personal, traumatic experience, less than 24hrs ago. Everyone reacts to these experiences differently, but those feelings and sensations are normal. Especially when it happened so recently it will get better with time. If you are comfortable talking with someone who was also on the scene, thats a great idea. Chances are they are experiencing some of the same feelings you are. As DH mentioned EAP is another great alternative if you want to speak to someone anonymously. And check out TEMA webste. We just had the founder of the organization (Vince Savoia) give a presentation to us a month or so ago, He's a great guy. I spoke directly to Vince a few months back after I was having some issues following a nasty call and he was a huge help. How you decide to deal with it is up to you, but take it from someone who knows what it is like to work on friends/family/co-workers, the more you keep it inside, the worse it gets. If you can find someone to talk to, that you are comfortable with thats your best bet. Heck if you want to PM me I dont mind chatting.

If you decide not to do anything or speak to anyone, Just try to remember the best things you can do is to sweat and sleep it out. Physical labour is one of the best things you can do. Splitting firewood with an axe, shovelling snow, etc are great activities. If you tire yourself out doing that, sleeping will be easier. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs, as well as Caffeine. Good luck, and the fact that you were willing to post on here is a good sign.

User avatar
3rdGen
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby 3rdGen » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:43 am

Exercise!! lots of water, clean eating...
Although you don't need to share details, share with those close to you how you are feeling.
It is normal to be a little abnormal after an abnormal event, and your family shouldn't suffer from what you may feel you need to hide. talk to them.

Hopefully as mentioned you have access to Employee Assistance Program either through your FD or your employer. If not maybe there are grief teams through your police that can assist. DO NOT bottle this up or try to swallow it. If you are not sleeping after a few days then please please seek out some help.

The fire service is getting better at asking for help and making it acceptable to talk about these things. A lot of the old time retired guys struggle with alcohol as a result of bottling this stuff up for years as it compounds, the service is working to change this.

Feel free to PM me as well, but if you can hook up with someone with some experience in your hall or get set up with someone through the hall I would strongly suggest it.
"You can't be wrong for doing the right thing"

KootenayKid
Posts: 94
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby KootenayKid » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:24 am

I'll back what has already been said. You are not a sissy at all. My POC dept does a lot of MVC's as well and its been standard for the 7+ years that I've been involved there that there is a sit down immediately following significant calls and another in a couple days. At one time they brought in an RCMP victim services person but that did not work. Now they use other FF with extra CISM training to facilitate. Most of the time that is enough and they are brother FF's so they have a good understanding of what its like. If more is needed there are ways to get additional help anonymously. The officers may also notify FF's families or employers so they are aware and on the lookout for changes in behaviour - primarily for newer guys.

We are human and it is normal to react to what we see. I find the POC dept better at recognizing the need and actually doing something pro-active than the career dept I'm on now. You have brothers here who I'm sure can relate and listen if needed. Don't be afraid to acknowledge it if you have struggles - better that than go down a road that negatively affects your life and your loved ones.

I recently attended a debrief after a fatality and I wish I could remember exactly what the guy said but it was along the lines of needing to get to REM sleep in order for your brain to properly file away the memories.

Take care brother!

User avatar
splashover
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby splashover » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:42 am

[quote=""dentedhead""]First when will everyone stop equating being affected by a traumatic event with being a sissy? We all have different abilty to process CI or triggers but the end result is the same.[/quote]

Couldn't agree more. Dealing with this stuff is tough and you are a stronger person for facing it head on.

DMURPH
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby DMURPH » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:15 pm

I fully agree with the above. I have been doing heavy extrication and removal for over ten years now. Actually doing the job has gotten easier over time but the aftermath never gets easier. Because everyone processes this kind of trauma differently, it is hard sometimes to pinpoint a good debrief time. Some will talk right away and some need some time to get over the shock of the incident. I have found talking about it, in your own time, and time itself, will help heal the scars.

User avatar
hmckay91
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby hmckay91 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:38 am

Gain an understanding of the CISD process. Once you understand the process you should find it much easier to deal with. You then can reconise the effects in yourself and others and apply appropriate techniques to deal with the stress. A fair number of them have already been highlighted.

What worked best for me is a simple discussion/debrief with a trusted co-worker who attended the call. Our service starts with this and continues on wiht more formal techniques if required.
There's never time to do it right but always time to do it over.

User avatar
LTPVFD
Posts: 1116
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 3:00 pm

Making The Faces Go Away

Postby LTPVFD » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:07 pm

I have attended many calls over the years that ended up with someone dying. The calls have ranged from fatal accidents, suicides, cardiac arrest, and drownings. I can't say that I can still see all the faces, but I can remember the details of the call.

One thing that I have used successfully over the years, and it has already been mentioned here, is a CISD or Critical Incident Stress Debrief. They have worked wonders for dealing with many of the calls.

As a company officer, whenever we attend a call with a fatality, and other times as well, I facilitate a hot debrief once we are back at the hall. The hot debrief helps deal with initial emotions, and lets members speak about what they did, and the emotions they are feeling. It also opens the door to a CISD if required, and individual counselling if so desired.

I have found that the worst thing you can do is hold it in, and the best thing you can do is talk about it with your peers. Hope this helps !!

Stay safe !!

LTPVFD
Safety First - EVERYONE Goes Home !!

Albion
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby Albion » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:49 am

Exercise is helpful in stress matter, It is good to do exercise daily because it prevents us from stress and depression, It makes our mind fresh and active, In short exercise has thousands of benefits....


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest