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