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  1. #1
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    Question Trauma Scene attitudes

    I'm curious as to how people reacted on their first trauma scenes and how they do later in their career. Early on were they really difficult for you? If so did you build some sort of tolerance, or did you just learn to cope with it? I can't imagine you become immune to any sort of emotional impact that the scenes might have on you, but how have you put those emotions behind you in order to get the job done?


  2. #2
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firehog5 View Post
    I can't imagine you become immune to any sort of emotional impact that the scenes might have on you, but how have you put those emotions behind you in order to get the job done?
    Just because you can't imagine it doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. It does and it will to you as well.

    There are no emotions to put behind you once your are desensitized to people's problems, whatever they are - trauma, medical, social, etc.

    We are men. We do our jobs without crying like a bunch of sniveling little girls. Then we go and do it again, and again doing the best you can along the way, unconcerned about the situations that you had no control over and could not alter.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  3. #3
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Talking

    Pretty much have to put on your big boy pants and get the job done.

    Over the years, have come across a few that just cannot deal with the blood or emotions of the sick & injured.

    They end up walking away or become the chiefs shower boy.

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    I've had a few in my career, and some involving close friends and family members. You learn to shut of the personal side and put the professional side into overdrive to compensate.

    We have an employee assistance plan with a shrink on call for critical incident stress debriefing.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Gonzo puts it well. Set the emotions aside while you are needed, and once you can safely dod so at no risk to the patient, you deal with the trauma to you.

    I think of it like a snooze button on your emotions.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.Ē
    --General James Mattis, USMC


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    Once you realize that you had nothing to do with "why" it happened to whomever, then it's just another call. That said, anything with kids sucks!
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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    Forum Member TenEight's Avatar
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    I was 16 and a JFF when I went on my first F. I stood there in shock and awe at the scene that was playing out before my eyes. It's the only time in my life I can remember thinking to myself "Damn, I need a cigarette."

    10 years later I've seen many F's, it's just become one of those things. Gonzo is right on with what he said... you have to focus on the job you're doing and then take time for yourself after the call. Dealing with kids is the worst thing and I hear it's even worse when you are a father yourself.

    Our Dept has a Chaplain that we can talk to but we also encourage our members to talk to each other. A bad scene can affect even the most hardened FF and there is strength and support in numbers.


    In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig.

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    One of my first EMS calls was 3 teens dying in a car accident. Thankfully I've not had to deal with the death of a young child.

    For particularly bad situations, we have a debriefing after the call. Better to get things out there rather than bottle them up.

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    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    As the Loo from Memphis and others have said, you have to control yourself. If you can't you are in the wrong job.



    BTW 10-8 whats with the F's??? Your school grades?

    Can't you bring your self to spell or say Fire?
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    BTW 10-8 whats with the F's??? Your school grades?

    Can't you bring your self to spell or say Fire?
    Doesn't he mean Fatality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keenque View Post
    Doesn't he mean Fatality?
    That's what I thought.

    Everybody has "their" call. Some muddle through and get on with life, for some it's a career ending event (especially among volunteers).

    Pretty much everybody hates kid calls.

    All too often I look at the circumstances and decide that it was the victim's own fault - they were drunk, weren't paying attention and blew through a light or stop sign, stuff like that.

    And, as someone already pointed out, what happened wasn't my fault - it's just my job to sort it out and try to make for the best outcome possible.

    That said, it never hurts to unload on a willing listener. Discussing the call over the kitchen table, with a chaplain, or in an organized debrief helps you defuse. Many who attend a debrief (or even an informal chat) come away realizing that they aren't the only one that has the same feelings (a belief many carry into the debrief).
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keenque View Post
    Doesn't he mean Fatality?
    Ouch, you am right pal. My mistake.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Yea, the kid ones are the hardest.
    Last edited by truckedup133; 02-24-2011 at 12:24 AM.
    "It's a living thing brian..."

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    my first major incident was 13 ejected, 8 dead, 5 critical, 5 medivac's in the neighboring department. How did we deal with it? We got over it we had a job to do.

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    thanks for the answers. I noticed most of you had an answer similar to, "put it behind you you have a job" I completely understand that, but once your "professional overdrive" as someone put it shuts off, how do you deal with it? not necessarily feeling guilty for what happened, but i guess just seeing those things i would think would have an impact on the psyche in some way... no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firehog5 View Post
    how do you deal with it?
    Well, to be honest, and what many outside the service would say is sick, I laugh about it! It so not PC, and I make damn sure I'm in the presence of other who will also laugh about it.
    A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

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    Put it behind you. You are helping the people. You did not cause the situation. No one likes to see people in pain, but no one calls the emrgency services to celebrate a birthday with.
    Every call has the potential to be bad. If people died, it is not becuase of you.

  18. #18
    Forum Member TenEight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    As the Loo from Memphis and others have said, you have to control yourself. If you can't you are in the wrong job.



    BTW 10-8 whats with the F's??? Your school grades?

    Can't you bring your self to spell or say Fire?
    F for fatality, sorry.


    I have a strict "no talking to the wife about bad calls" policy - what about everyone else? Do you unload on your wife or keep it from her?


    In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TenEight View Post
    F for fatality, sorry.


    I have a strict "no talking to the wife about bad calls" policy - what about everyone else? Do you unload on your wife or keep it from her?
    What happens on the department, stays at the department. Spouses, particularly ones not associated with emergency response, simply do not understand, and often don't want to know.

    Now that being said, we often debrief incidents, and always have someone available to talk to for anyone having difficulties coping.

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    Like most on here have said you repress it and do your job. When you get done, handle it however you like. I know some guys that find the humerus side of the event, others that talk it over with their wives, still others find someone else that was their and vent. I even know one guy that visits a psychiatrist, or maybe its a grief counselor, when it's worse than normal. Everyone handles grief and suffering differently. There really isn't a wrong way to cope with it, just so long as you are actually dealing with it.

    I have a rule that I never bring work home with me. So, personally I have a cop friend that I discuss the really bad scenes with and he does the same with me. It works pretty good, we are both in emergency services, and he works in a different jurisdiction than me. We each bring a different perspective to the table, yet have enough similarities that we each know what the other is talking about. I also have the number for the Critical Incident Debrief team we use at work on a card in my billfold, so if I ever work that career-ending incident I know there is someone to talk to about it.

    For the intentions of this post, when I say career-ending I strictly mean a incident that inflicts such emotional distress that I do not feel I can continue to effectively perform the duties of my occupation.
    Last edited by KanFireman; 02-24-2011 at 01:14 AM.

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