1. #1
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    Default How to deal with Fatals

    I had my first fatal ATV accident yesterday and the worst part about it was the person that was killed was a close family friend to mine. How does everyone else deal with that I need some suggestions
    Mike McGinn

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    You realy have three issues to deal with and none of them are easy. The first and what I think is harder is the fact that you saw a friend in what was a very bad way. Of which I have never delt with and makes everything all the more difficult for you. The next you have to deal with the fact that you lost a friend which I have, and remembering good times and having some time to heal should make things better, but like I said it will take time. The third is being at a fatal scene, I've become quite calus to it for the most part except for a few times and this will be one of those times for you with a friend being involed. I would talk with mutal firends and remember all the good stuff. There is not much that any one can say to anyone to make things go along any better you just have to push along at your own rate. Try to keep your head up because it is a lot easier to see where you are going, if you get into a slump it will take longer to feel any better.
    the truth never hides for long

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    onw word cisd(critical incdient stress debreifing)
    talk about it
    if you want to email me
    2197 10-8
    stay safe,stay healthy,have fun
    2197 10-8<br />stay safe have fun stay healthy<br />
    nc firefighter/emt-d
    RFB-FTM

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    Well I have been on a couple of fatals and all i know to tell you is if you dont want to talk to soemeone from your department, then in most counties they have like a counsiling program. Like were i live we have an organization called 6 county. Really a great service. I have never called them but on a fatal house fire they came to the scene and asked if i was o.k. cause i knew the little girl who died. But hey if you need someone to talk to i will listen and try to help. e-mail: fireman_kinsey@hotmail.com .
    one question though that i found out no one but one person knows the answer to is why? I asked myself that many times and it will rip you apart to try and figure it out. The only thing i was told was hey it happened for a reason. Although some disagree with it you have to look at it like that sometimes. Well email me and we will talk if you want.
    Always remember those who have went before us.

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    My suggestion. Don't have one. Because in my mind is, if you can't deal with it you are in the wrong business. Maybe thats a bad attitude, but I don't know. I had the same thing happen to me except a distant relative that was at all family functions. Rolled over on a farm tractor. I didn't shed one tear or anything at the scene. It don't matter WHO it is. What matters is the condition. Think of it as a patient. Maybe you have not been in as long as I have been but maybe you will develope that skill to just completly disregard who it is. If you need to talk email me.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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    I am with Mitch on this one. I have been to fatles but not a friend or family member. If you can't handle it than this is probably not for you. You can't dwell on the past, what happened happened.

    My personal feelings, are Sh@# happens, and dying is part of life.

    P.S.SFDEngCo1- I am sorry for your loss.
    "Real Heros wear SCBA, Not Capes!"<br />

    <a href="http://www.newhollandfire.net" target="_blank">www.newholland fire.net</a> **department website**

    <a href="http://www.lancasterfire.com" target="_blank">www.lancasterf ire.com</a><br />**county website**

  7. #7
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    CISD>>>>CISD.... Do not be afraid to partake of this process. I have run many many fatalities in my 30 years in the Service. Some of them involved close friends (1989 Fire Engine vs Train in Catlett Va.).

    Talk to someone and do not be afraid to express your feelings.

    You will see many more if you stick with it and you have to deal with it and move on. You will never forget any of them...nor will you forget your friend.... Deal with it...understand it...and move on or it will destroy your career.

    Dr. Jeffery Mitchell has written books about CISD and the process... Look for one...

    Good luck..
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Remember to laugh.I know it is a hard time right now but if you let it all stay inside you it will f&*k you up.I was at a double fatal where one of the kids looked like our probie.For a month every time I saw him I equated death to him,but I have gotten over that now.It helps to talk to your crew your fellow members on your dept.CISD teams and if your wife is like mine you can talk to these people and it helps.
    Our stress relief was a few weeks after the incident to have a massive water fight.It started out as a training but escalated to WW III Like the man says "Laughter the best medicine."

  9. #9
    exp17
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    Red face

    I argee with the CISD but, it is weird when you see your first doa. I was unfortunate enough to see two on one shift. One was in a high speed police pursuit. He was folded in half and the other hit a concrete barrier and couldn't get out of a burning truck. I'm friend with all the guy's on the shift and we just talked about it, but honestly it didn't really bother me. I think y ou need to know that you did the best you could to help your friend and that's all anyone could ask for. I do disagree about someone's comment about if you can't handle it. The first is always the worst, but you will eventually not let it bother you, except for children who doa. But my advice, clear your mind, say what you need to say, and jump back into the saddle mavrick and get airborne again.

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    Truth is...different people will handle it in different ways. Some ways work well and some ways do not.

    You have some like Mitch, that will objectify (not sure if thats a real word) a patient. That can be an okay approach IMO...so long as you don't lose sight of the fact you are dealing with a human being and not a practice manikin.

    However, you can have feelings and be an EMT/paramedic too. It's sad and difficult to see people in the conditions we see them in. Especially if it's someone you know. Try to remember why you are there...because you have received training that may help them. Do what you can to the best of your ability. Some will live and some will die.

    Dealing with your feeling afterward will be a personal choice. There is more than one choice here. CISD, family and friends, religion, coworkers, a combination of all can be good (and sometimes bad) choices. Some people don't feel the need to share it and that can be okay too, but don't feel like you have to hold it inside for fear of being ridiculed. There are people out there that will listen to you....and it doesn't make you any less of a firefighter/paramedic....and it may help you become a better one.

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    Mitch and JR, I think you guys need to relax a little bit. I wouldn't say that if you can't deal with it, you're in the wrong business. I have been in public service for a total of 7 years now, some as a "Cadet", some paid, some volunteer, and I never once had a real problem dealing with a call until this summer. I thought I was "hardened" and "experienced" enough that nothing would bother me, but for some reason, this call did. Not only did it bother me, but it nearly put me out of service for awhile. It still haunts me occasionally, but not to the point that it affects my work.

    99% of EMS or FIRE workers will at one time or another have a difficult call. The only things I can suggest are prayer (if you're religious), CISD, and talking to those you trust. Remember why you do this....

    Be Safe, Have fun,
    Cliff

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    I have only been a senior member of our firedepartment for 2 years, and I have only had to deal with one fatal. It was a motorcycle accident that involved a couple kids my age, and I went to highschool with them. My Buddy was like brothers with one of them, and he took it hard. he dropped out of the fire department form it because he realized he couldn't handle. Me personally, I looked to the other members of the department. The older guys that have been through it all many times. We have a bond in our department where everyone is like a big brotherhood, and we all feel safe confiding in each other. My best advice is to talk to people that have gone through it

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    Well. Thats the thing. I haven't forgotten that I am dealing with humans. I don't know if I came acrossed the wrong way at first, I do have sympathy and compassion for people. Its just that I don't let it bother me at a scene. I have a job to do and it has to get done. When I get home or back to the hall is when it bothers me, and its sickening actually to see a human mutaliated as they are sometimes they are. And all I have to say is that I have a job to do. And if I think its somebody I know, I avoid it. Infact, we are told to avoid it. It's too rough. Nobody can tell you how to deal with a thing. Everyting is different everytime, you have to "develope" your own ways to deal with it. Counseling through your deapartment may not work for you.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

  14. #14
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    I'm sorry you had this happen. In my opinion, there have been some inappropriate things expressed in this forum. I hope I don't sound like I'm preaching or watching the world through rose-colored glasses, but here are my thoughts.

    I frown upon exposing junior's/explorer's to such traumatic events. I'm 23, and started when I was 15. I was prevented from responding on a couple of calls, and you know what? It was the right thing to do.

    These programs aren't about "seeing who is able to take it." A Junior's experience should not be considered some kind of "test of mettle" to see if they can deal with blood and guts and gore. There is plenty of time in a couple of years for these types of exposures to take place. Your time as a junior/explorer serves to introduce you to department operations, rules, safe training, and the like. Juniors are not simply younger firefighters or younger paramedics. There is a difference.

    Our policy is that we dismiss juniors from (or prevent them from responding to) scenes that may adversely affect their emotional and/or physical wellbeing. We generally define these as:
    - death of children
    - calls of a serious nature involving their peers
    - obvious multi-trauma patients and trauma fatalities
    - unsafe scenes (haz-mat, crimes in progress, etc)

    I might've missed a few (don't have it in front of me), but you get the idea.

    Should an unforeseen exposure occur, junior members are treated as everyone else is with respect to CISD/CISM. Additionally, they are contacted by their mentor just to "check in."

    In any event, our mentor program encourages juniors to discuss their participation with another person. I think it works quite well.

    There are many dangers--both obvious and hidden--inherent to these fields. Remember though, the safety and wellbeing of the younger folks are our responsibility. If something bad happens, the department is liable for their safety. Just as I hope you wouldn't send them in to pull people out of burning buildings, you should guard the rest of their health.
    Last edited by Resq14; 05-24-2011 at 05:19 AM.
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    Mitch--
    You're an idiot. Nothing personal. You're lucky you've never had to shed a tear at the scene, but someday you will. Or maybe all the inward stuff will build up until you have a nervous breakdown. It's healty to let your emotions go once in a while, and CISDs are incredibly important. I have an Uncle who was a POW in Vietnam, and he never says anymore than that. Every once in a while he'll get extremly depressed, but it's the kind of thing that could easily be treated with therapy.

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    You people are reading me completely the wrong way
    I DO show sympathy! I DO show emotion! I do I do I DO! Just not at the scene. And its not like I purposely don't its just that I don't. Its not in my nature, I remain what I consider professional at the scene. You people I think are making me out to be some kind of cold hearted idiot. At a scene I just think its inappropiate.
    Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
    Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
    Randolph Fire Co. Inc

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    My advice is to talk about with the people on the department, because they will understand the emotions that you are going through.

    If your department utilizes CISD, use it.

    I've seen my fair share of DOAs, and had a few die on me, from the guy who died in his sleep to the teenager who crashed and burned beyond recognition. And the call that absolutely bothered me the most was a 40 y/o father who had a heart attack at his home office. His daughter was in the next room and didn't even know. When she went in to talk to him, it was way too late. I would have never thought that it would be a simple DOA that got me, no blood, nothing crazy.

    So...talk it over with people who understand what you're going through.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    I've been on a bunch of calls that have bothered me some.... not to much but some... I've been in EMS for 1 1/2 years ...and I've seen 4 DOA's (no blood or guts) and 1 or 2 Bad ones... The only bad one I've seen was a Burn victim that The Fire Dept handed off to my crew as we were operating at a MCI Hi-Rise Fire..but anyways.... that bothered me a tiny bit because it was my first "bad" call and it was also the first time I had to put my CPR skills into action. Also the 2nd call that REALLY bothered me was the death of a friend of mine... a Firefighter who died in a tragic accident at our Firemens carnival after he fell 20ft and struck his head. Being there seconds after impact and assisting in providing care for him really got to me.... I went to CISD along with about 50 other Firefighters also 3 of my fellow Firefighter Explorers went too... being there and sharing your feelings and knowing that you have the same feeling as some of the older guys who've seen more fires and wrecks than I probably ever will release there feelings... it helps alot.. But what helped me alot was that I got to vent... and say whatever I wanted... It helped me ALOT along with the rest of my fire dept. I ride Volly Fire & Volly EMS so I see more stuff with EMS than I do fire... But still I've learned to deal with it but im sure sometime I'll come across something I cant deal with again..
    Andrew
    Firefighter/EMT
    New Jersey

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