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  1. #1
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    Question dealling with you'r first death

    The explorer program that im with is going to start doing ride alongs and being able to help on a call with in are ability. So to all exploers or JR.s or FF how do you deal with your fist DOA call or some dosent make it just look for some advice if this unfoinitly happens thamks


  2. #2
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    You'll be fine on scene and on the ambulance going to the hospital. Your training and adrenaline will hold back anything emotional that is waiting to rear it's ugly head. Usually. Once in a while someone will just freeze and puke, but for the most part, your emotional reactions will be inhibited until afterwards.

    After it's over, it becomes a lot of "it depends". Mostly, it depends on the age of the patient.

    You will find that a 90yr old dude that dies has little to no emotional effect on you. Old people die. That's what they do. The family will be sad but that's about where it ends. Most dead people we deal with are old people that have simply run out of life and it's no big deal.

    When an "non old person" old dies, it's usually a little worse because it is totally unexpected and isn't right. When a 40yr old father of 3 has the big one and dies on his living room floor, it will probably be an emotional event afterwards for you the first time. The family will be much more hysterical. You and your crew will much more amped up trying to do anything you can. And the whole thing shouldn't be happening, it's too early and these people shouldn't be losing their dad and husband for another 40 years. Again it will hit after the incident is over.

    When it's a kid, it will be BAD. Most likely the worst experience in your entire rather short life. After the incident is over, it will slam into you like a wall of bricks and knock your *** to the ground. Literally, you'll probably have to sit down or hit the ground. It's bad. You'll need the next day off from school and some CISD counselling. The effects of this could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how you cope with it.

    So, how do you cope with this crap? Talk to your friends and collegues in the department about it. Tell them how you feel and what you did and how it went and what happened. Trust me, they've either been-there-done-that too, or they haven't and they're in the same boat as you, or both. If you think you're being all macho and manly by not showing how you feel and not talking about, you will fail.

    Talking to people outside the department that aren't already involved will usually help too. Now, I don't mean telling all your friends and teamates on the football team all the details of the incident to get it off your chest. You still need to maintain confidentiality. But talk to your friends and family about how you feel and using generalities without names as appropriate helps a lot.

    And CISD counselling is a HUGE help. This can be individual in person or by phone. Or as a group with everyone that was involved. The CISD counselors are trained to help you deal with this kind of thing and you don't need to worry about confidentiality with it either so just spill it. The fact that the CISD counselors are completely detached third parties that you don't even know seems to make a big difference too.

    About 2 years ago, I went through this. And not only was it a kid, it was in fact one of my explorers in my department. I was a total mess for two weeks until several of my friends and coworkers conspired to get me talking to a CISD counselor. Fixed me right up. How or why, I don't know because I'm not a psychologist. But it works. My whole department and all our explorers, many of whom were there at the scene, really came together for eachother and I suspect you'll find the same thing.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  3. #3
    Forum Member RyanK63's Avatar
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    Exactly what he said ^. Couldn't of said it better myself.

  4. #4
    Forum Member CGITCH's Avatar
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    Personally, I've never been unfortunate enough to have a DOA or death while under my care. I have however had half dozen (ish) accidents where the patients under my care have been airlifted. Of these six or so people, 3 of them were classmates of mine or I knew them personally. Its hard to work on these people and just do your job. Personally, I have to get myself in the mindset that they are nothing more than an object. I know that sounds bad and inhumane. I still treat them the best I can, but my emotions towards them are put away for that time. I know its really hard to do with someone you know personally, but its the best way to do your job. Once they are loaded in that helicopter, and I was walking away, it all comes back. They became people again. Its a weird feeling not knowing the condition of these people anymore, and luckily for me, they all have ended up making it. I'll be the first to say these incidents have affected me, especially the ones where I've known the person personally. I've also had ambulance calls where the person was dying in front of our eyes, and all we were doing was comforting them. This is also weird to sit there and talk to these people as we're transporting them. They usually don't even know they're on the way out. Its hard to maintain a sense of composure in front of these people and act normal to them. But you have to. Once again, its back to my whole "object" thing. Its what works for me.

    I've never had it bad enough to where I've had to talk to someone because my emotions are so bad. But even after these incidents when we sit down and talk about it, that even makes me feel better. I've had people ask me many times if I need to talk. Its a really good feeling to know you have people that will gladly talk to you about it. One of these times, I'll have to take them up on that offer. I know one of these times I'll have someone very close to me get hurt badly or even die. I know I'll have people there to talk to. Everyone has their different methods of dealing, and you'll find yours.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Chenzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    You'll be fine on scene and on the ambulance going to the hospital. Your training and adrenaline will hold back anything emotional that is waiting to rear it's ugly head. Usually. Once in a while someone will just freeze and puke, but for the most part, your emotional reactions will be inhibited until afterwards.

    After it's over, it becomes a lot of "it depends". Mostly, it depends on the age of the patient.

    You will find that a 90yr old dude that dies has little to no emotional effect on you. Old people die. That's what they do. The family will be sad but that's about where it ends. Most dead people we deal with are old people that have simply run out of life and it's no big deal.

    When an "non old person" old dies, it's usually a little worse because it is totally unexpected and isn't right. When a 40yr old father of 3 has the big one and dies on his living room floor, it will probably be an emotional event afterwards for you the first time. The family will be much more hysterical. You and your crew will much more amped up trying to do anything you can. And the whole thing shouldn't be happening, it's too early and these people shouldn't be losing their dad and husband for another 40 years. Again it will hit after the incident is over.

    When it's a kid, it will be BAD. Most likely the worst experience in your entire rather short life. After the incident is over, it will slam into you like a wall of bricks and knock your *** to the ground. Literally, you'll probably have to sit down or hit the ground. It's bad. You'll need the next day off from school and some CISD counselling. The effects of this could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how you cope with it.

    So, how do you cope with this crap? Talk to your friends and collegues in the department about it. Tell them how you feel and what you did and how it went and what happened. Trust me, they've either been-there-done-that too, or they haven't and they're in the same boat as you, or both. If you think you're being all macho and manly by not showing how you feel and not talking about, you will fail.

    Talking to people outside the department that aren't already involved will usually help too. Now, I don't mean telling all your friends and teamates on the football team all the details of the incident to get it off your chest. You still need to maintain confidentiality. But talk to your friends and family about how you feel and using generalities without names as appropriate helps a lot.

    And CISD counselling is a HUGE help. This can be individual in person or by phone. Or as a group with everyone that was involved. The CISD counselors are trained to help you deal with this kind of thing and you don't need to worry about confidentiality with it either so just spill it. The fact that the CISD counselors are completely detached third parties that you don't even know seems to make a big difference too.

    About 2 years ago, I went through this. And not only was it a kid, it was in fact one of my explorers in my department. I was a total mess for two weeks until several of my friends and coworkers conspired to get me talking to a CISD counselor. Fixed me right up. How or why, I don't know because I'm not a psychologist. But it works. My whole department and all our explorers, many of whom were there at the scene, really came together for eachother and I suspect you'll find the same thing.
    That is probably the best summary I've ever heard.

    He hit it right on the head. I have this, black cloud/bad juju for getting kids calls. Seizures, or not breathing. Thankfully, knock on wood, we've saved them all so far, but even the page going out gets you going and worked up, and everything gets done a little quicker. Kids calls are scary as hell.

    Good azz summary nm.

  6. #6
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    I would have to agree, that is a great summary! I have had two death expierences in my career. They hit me hard everyday. The best thing you can do is TALK and get it out. Its ok to ask "for help". Thats what the Brotherhood is about! If something bothers you ask, get it out.


    Good luck

    Stay safe

  7. #7
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Another hard death to deal with is that of a member, who dies on the job, be it at the fire, in the house or at their home.

    You become a family and when one of our members gets hurt of dies, it hits home really hard.

    On the civilian side, young folks, children ding in a fire is also a hard thing to handle most of the times.

    Working someone, giving compressions and shocks and they don't respond does have an effect on you.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Another hard death to deal with is that of a member, who dies on the job, be it at the fire, in the house or at their home.

    You become a family and when one of our members gets hurt of dies, it hits home really hard.

    On the civilian side, young folks, children ding in a fire is also a hard thing to handle most of the times.

    Working someone, giving compressions and shocks and they don't respond does have an effect on you.
    I completely agree with you, working someone is hard unfortunately I have done it a few times but we all talk to each other and are there for each other if we need to talk about what happened during that call. Unfortunately I had a member whose newer to the EMS squad go out with me on one of his first few calls and we had to perform CPR and use the AED and i told him that its best to talk to people on your crew about what you saw and how you feel about what happened rather then allowing it to bottle up inside you.

  9. #9
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default DOA's

    I use to think I was able to handle all the different types of deaths in the 30 plus years on the job. My toughest was the death of my wife. She went down and i had to do CPR on her and have the guy's I work with respond and finish the workup. To this day I still have visions of the scene every time I see someone performing CPR. You think you can work through it.....but sometimes you just can't.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
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    Lifetime Member CSFA
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  10. #10
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I use to think I was able to handle all the different types of deaths in the 30 plus years on the job. My toughest was the death of my wife. She went down and i had to do CPR on her and have the guy's I work with respond and finish the workup. To this day I still have visions of the scene every time I see someone performing CPR. You think you can work through it.....but sometimes you just can't.
    Jay, I can associate with you Brother, having had the same thing happen with me and my wife. She was doing great one day and then went 180 degrees in a matter of hours.

    Waiting for the fire company to arrive, about 1 mile away seem like forever.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  11. #11
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Cap you're correct.....my station was two blocks away and never heard the sirens.....they said they just flew there and it was a three minute response from the time I spoke to our dispatcher but it seemed like forever.....
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    You'll be fine on scene and on the ambulance going to the hospital. Your training and adrenaline will hold back anything emotional that is waiting to rear it's ugly head. Usually. Once in a while someone will just freeze and puke, but for the most part, your emotional reactions will be inhibited until afterwards.

    After it's over, it becomes a lot of "it depends". Mostly, it depends on the age of the patient.

    You will find that a 90yr old dude that dies has little to no emotional effect on you. Old people die. That's what they do. The family will be sad but that's about where it ends. Most dead people we deal with are old people that have simply run out of life and it's no big deal.

    When an "non old person" old dies, it's usually a little worse because it is totally unexpected and isn't right. When a 40yr old father of 3 has the big one and dies on his living room floor, it will probably be an emotional event afterwards for you the first time. The family will be much more hysterical. You and your crew will much more amped up trying to do anything you can. And the whole thing shouldn't be happening, it's too early and these people shouldn't be losing their dad and husband for another 40 years. Again it will hit after the incident is over.

    When it's a kid, it will be BAD. Most likely the worst experience in your entire rather short life. After the incident is over, it will slam into you like a wall of bricks and knock your *** to the ground. Literally, you'll probably have to sit down or hit the ground. It's bad. You'll need the next day off from school and some CISD counselling. The effects of this could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on how you cope with it.

    So, how do you cope with this crap? Talk to your friends and collegues in the department about it. Tell them how you feel and what you did and how it went and what happened. Trust me, they've either been-there-done-that too, or they haven't and they're in the same boat as you, or both. If you think you're being all macho and manly by not showing how you feel and not talking about, you will fail.

    Talking to people outside the department that aren't already involved will usually help too. Now, I don't mean telling all your friends and teamates on the football team all the details of the incident to get it off your chest. You still need to maintain confidentiality. But talk to your friends and family about how you feel and using generalities without names as appropriate helps a lot.

    And CISD counselling is a HUGE help. This can be individual in person or by phone. Or as a group with everyone that was involved. The CISD counselors are trained to help you deal with this kind of thing and you don't need to worry about confidentiality with it either so just spill it. The fact that the CISD counselors are completely detached third parties that you don't even know seems to make a big difference too.

    About 2 years ago, I went through this. And not only was it a kid, it was in fact one of my explorers in my department. I was a total mess for two weeks until several of my friends and coworkers conspired to get me talking to a CISD counselor. Fixed me right up. How or why, I don't know because I'm not a psychologist. But it works. My whole department and all our explorers, many of whom were there at the scene, really came together for eachother and I suspect you'll find the same thing.



    As people have said this is the best discription I have ever heard. Its dead on with facts. I have had 6 Dead people since september... The first one was a DOA car accident. For me the first one hit me but you just have to tell yourself this is what you have to deal with. When you get your first pediatric it will truely be heart braking. I dont care who you are but it will disturb you. The best and only real way to get over them are just to talk to your fellow firefighters. They will help you out big time. If its a really bad call I know a lot of departments that have counselors that can be called at anytime to talk to. If ya have any questions dont be afraid to ask.

    Stay Safe
    Tyler

  13. #13
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I wish I didn't have the experiences to create that guide to dealing with death but I guess it's an occupational hazard given this line of work.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  14. #14
    Forum Member RollerDJ's Avatar
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    Am I the only one that thinks this should be a sticky? Great information to anyone just coming into the fire (or EMT) service.

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