Thread: The Rescuer

  1. #1
    hrt42 Guest

    Default The Rescuer

    This is a subject, that really is not discussed and I would like to have some opinions on. Psychological Trauma to the Rescuer. In 19 years in the fire service and countless extrication courses and seminars including Ron's, the subject is never brought up. Now being a Chief officer, I am tring to develope away to prepare the new rescuers for a serious incident,visually,and
    psychologically.I also teach extrication here in my own County, and I have incorperated what I felt in my training.I also have N.Y.S.O.F.P.C.(N.Y.S. Office Fire Prevention and Control)looking at this to see if they can put in thier courses.In the volunteer sector at times there could be some young or older members exposed to a incident that could have a great effect on them, because they were never for warned of what they might encounter before getting on that apparatus. I do not know how the Paid sector deals with this so I cannot comment on that side of the fence. I have written a summary of what I thought and if anyone would like me email it to them please ask.Thanks for any suggestions.

    Thank you all for responding, What I am actually looking for are pre-incident opinions, or suggestions, Thanks again!

    John Hanlon

    [This message has been edited by hrt42 (edited March 10, 1999).]

  2. #2
    iwood51 Guest


    John, what kind of input are you looking for?
    CIDS, in-house follow-up and/or counselling, opinions in general?
    Please e-mail me your synopsis.

  3. #3
    DFurseth Guest


    Whenever we have had a gruesome fatal crash, we have had structured debriefings with licensed mental health workers from the county. We have had as many as 50% of on scene rescuers attend. They start out pretty quiet, but soon everyone is participating. Seems to work very well as sometimes we all need to talk about how we feel.


  4. #4
    Wolf2980 Guest


    Although I have only a couple of years with Fire & Emergency Services I have seen a few things. The worst though has been having a person die while frourously trying CPR. That severed head was pretty bad also. After a serious incident I found that a debreifing and a little socializing afterward helped me releive stress. I will always remeber the bad, but as long as I tell myself that I did my best I can sleep at night(though not at first). In NJ we have access to Phoenix which will bring in councilors to help those who really can't hack it.

  5. #5


    John, It looks like you are looking at pre incident, rather than post incident (CISD). planning, and training.

  6. #6
    trevor Guest


    you may wish to contact the CFA in australia and talk to them re there CIS program which has good follow up and post incident debeifing programs

  7. #7
    tydon Guest


    CISD can be done even before an incident. I have 10 years in service, 5 years in a small 8 person volunteer dept. which when we took on ems response it got pretty busy. My wife, who works as a social service provider, and I saw the need to start a CISD debreifing team within the communities within our immediate area. She has gone on to become a real advocate and has done some debreifings on a few incidents. She has even been asked to teach.
    Anyway, what we cannot stress enough is training the members of the local emergency response departments is to look after one anouther, look for the signs and symptoms in yourself as well as your fellow workers. I tell my crew that they will see stuff that they will react to and what they may feel in response. I am free in telling them how I have spent nights not sleeping, and the emotions involved when you work on someone and give it your best, thought you got them back and only to find out you lost them in the ER.
    The best training is doing but as far as Critical Incident Stress is concerned the only prevention is to tell them what to expect, then when it happens have a support group in place with proper debriefing protical in place to help them deal with it.
    hope this helps and good luck,
    asst. chief tydon

  8. #8
    Perry2085 Guest


    Hi John,

    I am writing to you from North East Ohio. We have on our Department 3 members who are Peer Debriefers in CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management). If we have a call that may affect our members we call in the CISM Team. We also respond to other departments within our area when called upon. This has been working out great for us and the county we work in. We have Police, Fire and Mental Health people on the team and we are called out to help with incidents that affect these areas. We also try to send members of the same field to help. This has been working for us. If you want any information on this Email me at and we can discuss it further.

    Stay Safe,

    Daniel J. Ulrich
    Perry Fire Department

  9. #9
    Sfrsc4 Guest


    I personally never thought about pre-incedent PTSD treatment, untill a couple of weeks ago when a prospective member asked me about how "gross" an incedent he might see if he joined our crew. It took a day for me to come up with an answer, but it told me that everything is relative. After carrying body bags after a helicopter crash when I was young and in the service, most stuff is mild compared to that.
    Maybe a mulage kit, or a good make up artist for first aid training might help prepair responders to the visual impact side of the stress management.
    (By the way, the guy that asked me about the "grossness" didn't join us.)
    Anybody else have an idea?
    Roger Ellis, Capt. Speedway Fire/Rescue

  10. #10
    Lou Guest


    Its very hard to prepare people for what they might see. You might try finding some training tapes that have graffic scenes. You could follow this up with a discussion with the new members and maybe have some of the senior members share thier past exeriences. If you have a really bad incident where you might be on scene for awhile, call the CISD team to respond right to the scene. Hope this helps.


  11. #11
    medic187 Guest


    I don't know if there is any way to absolutely set a pre-incident situation up.
    In teaching agricultural rescue we use some very graphic visual aids to show the types of injuries that one may expect. I also am a peer debreifer and I'm a firm beleiver in the use of CISD/CISM. I come from a rural area where much of the Fire service still beleive that "It doesn't bother me,bother me, bother me". CISD Teams are available in nearly all areas if you need one, find one, and use them."Prepare for the worst,and hope for the best"

    [This message has been edited by medic187 (edited April 23, 1999).]

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