1. #1
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    Default where to focus the energy

    We got called on a DOA accident last night - first in a couple of years. I'm not sure about you, but where I'm at everyone knows everyone. It was one of my friend's sons, 20 years old. Actually, almost all of the guys knew him and his family. I thought I was doing better this morning after I got an hour of sleep, but I'm not feeling so sure about myself now. We talked this morning before leaving the station about a debriefing, but I'm not sure if it has been scheduled. Must not be very important - some of them are getting together tonight to play poker.
    I'm strong and mature enough to realize what I'm doing...blaming the guys for their inadequacies and not dealing with the motions and moving on. But I'm stuck on something. I know they'd cover me in a second and keep me safe. But when it comes down to an emotional situation like this, why do they back away from me and hold tight to the other guys? Why do the guys huddle together and scatter when they see old teary eyes coming their way? Is it the whole macho/weakness thing? I wasn't the only one with leaky eyes either. So what's the problem?
    Any advise?

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    Contact someone immediately for a CISD session. Let as many people as want to, show up. Talk with people trained to handle situations like this. It will help.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Bones42 is right on the mark with this one.

    Some people take a while before they realize that a certain call has affected them. Some people will work through the situation with or without CISD. Honestly, I feel that CISD is the best route to go. I've gone to two CISD's and come away feeling better. The one incident that I wish I had a CISD for is the one that, well, not exactly haunts me, but I find I refer back to it much more often.

    When all is said and done, take care of yourself so that you can continue to do the valuable work that you do. Here's a hug for you; you have my support. I don't mind "leaky eyes" one bit. It's the human(e) side of you.

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    Agree 110% on this one, CISD is the way to go.

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    CISD is very good. We had one last year after a very nasty MVA that had a guardrail go through the passenger compartment. One thing I noticed was that it effected the guys in different ways. The many roads of life they went down to get to that CISD made it different for everyone.

    I think that the guys getting together may be a "non-formal" CISD. They "MAY" use this as a get together with the guys to feel safe or be with the only other people that saw what they saw.

    Just a different perspective, but if you can get a formal sit down do it by all means.

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    Thanks. I have contacted our CISM team and we're all getting together tonight.
    I appreciate your advise and letting me vent.

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    TK: pm me any time you feel the need.

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    Last year we lost one of our members, and we had a large debriefing / support session after we found out. It wasn't an LODD with our department, but it was an LODD of one of our guys. He was taken away by a tragic raceway accident at a neighboring state's race track. The support team helped the people that wanted help, and did not force themselves at members that dealt with it in their own way.

    On a side note, I think ChiefDog know's about what I'm talking about. Being that he is a fellow VTer.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

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    Yes, I did hear about that loss, very sad. It was a couple hours south but then again, Vermont is a small state.

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post that if you can get the "entire team" together it can help. At the one we had last year we included the dispatchers, EMS and Fire. The dispatcher had our fatal and a second fatal MVA on the same shift. She needed the CISD just as much as any of the people on scene. She even mentioned that putting a face with a voice helped her.

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    I am sensing something between the lines here. Since your profile is a little sparce, I am not sure why you seem to be referring to yourself as not being one of "the guys".

    At any rate, being involed and certified in CISD, I am very pleased to see that you got one set up. I am confident that it will pay off in dividends over time. Being "macho" doesn't help anyone.

    At one time, I toyed with the idea of hosting a chatroom on an ISP I am a member of where a sort of online debrefing (or defusing) could be held. It got shot down because of concerns over liability should someone have an adverse response and then point a finger at ISP provider.

    Oh well, feel free to send me an e-mail if you want an objective ear to vent on. If you have AOL or Yahoo messenger, you can share that with me and I'll try to look you up if you want to chat about the incident.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Debriefing was good. Got alot off of everyone's chests. We ended up with 22 firefighters from ours and an adjacent department we called for mutual aid. Afterward, we went to the family's house, per their request, so they could thank us. That was tough.
    To clarify my 'sparse' profile, I am a 32 year old female who has been with the majority of my crew for 14 years on a small rural vfd in Southeastern Ohio.
    Reflecting on how I was feeling in those first 36 hours and my comments in my initial posting, I realize now that I shouldn't have been so hard on the guys who weren't making me feel like 'one of the guys'. I really did think I knew them, how they responded to fatalities and their strengths/weaknesses. I learned alot last night. They did too I think. Our senior officers swim in the emotions just as the rest of us, but seem to stay focused on everything that's going on at the scene. I took it the wrong way.
    Thank you for the support and helping me out.

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    tk, I'm glad you got the needed help.........
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

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    Glad the CISD helped you. I am also glad that you realize that everyone reacts differently. And they probably learned that too.

    As for the poker thing; it could have been an easy oversight if you generally don't participate with that activity on an average day. Not that you must join in absolutely every activity; but that may have been part it. It also may have been a temporary diversion for those people who were picking their players with a view to diversion. They may have wanted to concentrate on poker without any risks of referral to the incident. Who knows for sure? Sometimes, if you want to be included you need to say something in a non-threatening, "just so you know, I'm up for this in this situation" kind of way. That in itself may change the outcome of that situation but then again, you'll never know until (God forbid) another incident occurs.

    Our senior officers swim in the emotions just as the rest of us, but seem to stay focused on everything that's going on at the scene.
    One way to look at that is that it is one of their strengths that makes them worthy of the officer position. The personal toll of that strength is another issue in itself...

    Take care and the pm offer is still open to you--ROOKIELZ

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    I appreciate your comforting words, ROOKIELZ.

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    Anytime you need 'em, tk.

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    Southeast Ohio... you are almost "local" in internet terms since I am from northeast Ohio. If you ever need to call together a debreifing team, the Ohio FOP has the Critical Incident Response Service (yeh, the FOP is made for cops, but this is open to ANYONE in public safety here in Ohio... we have called them for firefighters up this way with excellent results. They are just a phone call away, 24/7 --- the number is 1-800-367-6524. It is all free, so you have no reason not to keep that number in a rolodex somewhere.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Our local CISM team is in Logan. That's who I called.
    Glad to know someone from Ohio. :-)

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