1. #1
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    Default facing the past.

    I am not sure if this is really the right spot for this or not,... but was recently on an accident scene where I was inside taking care of the victim. I have only been with my fire dept for a few years and we don't get very many calls.. so this was the first big and bad accident I was really involved with.

    several years ago I was also in a terrible accident in which my husband and daughter were killed. The jaws were used to extricate me from the car.


    In this recent accident in which I was in the role of the care giver.. it genuinely scared the bejesus out of me while in the car looking after the victim and the jaws were being used. The sounds, the smells brought back what I guess could only be called flash backs of my own accident. Was a really disconcerting experience. Up until now I have been relatively confident in my training and abilities as a firefighter and emt but this whole thing has really made me wonder... I know I did my job when it came to the patient care, making sure they were OK.. but now I kind of wonder.

    I know I should probably say something to my chief ... but he is just not the type to understand..he would just make fun of me and generally make me feel like and idiot which I'm not.
    Last edited by HeliFire; 10-21-2004 at 07:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    After reading your story, I would be very surprized if your Chief would make fun of you or not assist you in managing your concerns. I you don't feel comfortable facing the Chief in person, put your thoughts down in a letter or e-mail, that way you will be sure to get the words right.

    Always remember, facing up to your fears is a good step in overcoming them.

    Perhaps also your Department may have access to councelling, particularly if you are a paid service. Check with a nearby paid service, like Halifax to see if they have any councelling services.

  3. #3
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    Small depts. usually don't have CISM within their capability. I would recommend that you find a way to seek counseling and talk this out. As you probably already know the triggering of smells and sounds will produce a higher degree of reaction to post traumatic stress. Many mental health agencies can refer you to a PTSD specialist. The best thing for you is to get this out. Letting PTSD go without treatment makes it more difficult to deal with over time. Remember stress affects everyone differently, but you may find others who responded to the scene may need to talk it out. If your chief is worth his weight in salt he will not give you a hard time. CISM is not based on a vote. If one person is having problems...everyone should participate in a debriefing. Let me know how you get along

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the replies...

    I wish I could say I had much faith in the chief.. but I don't and more and more I lose respect for him. He's a bully who get's his jollies making other people feel bad about themselves at every opportunity he can... I try to avoid dealing with him whenever possible. The only reason he keeps the position (it's elected) is that no one else has the same kind of time he has.. and giving credit where it's due.. he's good at the paperwork.. it's his personality where the deficit lies.

    As for my own situation.. I guess it's something I have to come to terms with and deal with if I want to stay in the emergency services. I love what I do here, it's the most rewarding experience I have ever had. Having had a bit more time to reflect on it, I think I did ok. I was faced with one of my own darkest moments in life. I still did my job, more importently I didn't panic and further the injuries of the patient I was looking after.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by HeliFire
    As for my own situation.. I guess it's something I have to come to terms with and deal with if I want to stay in the emergency services. I love what I do here, it's the most rewarding experience I have ever had. Having had a bit more time to reflect on it, I think I did ok. I was faced with one of my own darkest moments in life. I still did my job, more importently I didn't panic and further the injuries of the patient I was looking after.
    While it is good to hear that you were able to perform the duties of your job and took care of the patient, you still MUST talk to somebody about your thoughts and feelings. Your story is powerful and what you went through can certainly give you (and othters)strength and hope during a tough call, but that doesn't make your experience any less painful.

    I would recommend taking some time to speak with a professional counselor who can help you work through the thoughts, feelings, emotions of not only this recent rescue but also your own accident.

    A police officer friend of mine was involved in a shootout a couple of years ago and - just as you described the sights, sounds, smells of your response taking you back to your own accident - he had flashbacks to his service in Vietnam. Through counseling he was able to deal with some feelings that he had burried long ago.

    The job we do brings us face to face with human tragedy every day. But simply because our encounters with tragedy become "normal" or "routine" doesn't mean that our brain can just brush it aside. Sooner or later we have to deal with what we saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted, and thought our we will break down.

    PM me or email me and we'll see what resources we can find in your area.
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

  6. #6
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    I just went through a CISD. It was helpful. Although I am in SK, Canada, our CISD was done through the local Mental Health Outreach program. Your local medical clinic can give you directions for help.
    Sometimes we go where others fear. And sometimes there is a personal price. Get your price back: get help. GOD BLESS YOU!!!

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