I found this to be a rather interesting article. It mostly discusses how a specific fire crew, at a specific fire department, deals with the emotional toll of the job – especially when it comes to kids. It also touches on what the fire department is doing to help the guys on the front lines.
Essentially, it seems this crew and department have a very good and productive attitude about how calls can affect the responders. According to the article, they are open and willing to talk about their feelings and emotions after a horrific call. If this is truly the case, I applaud everyone involved.
Forgive me if I seem skeptical, but this was not my experience. I was never involved in an emotional conversation after a call. It just didn’t happen. Sure, each and every crew I worked with was a very close-knit group (well, with one glaring exception – but I won’t get into that). I have no doubt in my mind that everyone on my crew would drop everything to help me – with things like moving furniture, building a fence, fixing my car……But I would have never brought up how I was feeling after a call…..
Yes, I definitely hold most of the responsibility for never asking for help. But, it was the culture. I am absolutely convinced that a big part of that culture was (and still is), lack of education. Even towards the end of my career, when I was really struggling, no one noticed. Not even me. In hind-sight, I see it clear as day, but at the time I had no idea what was happening. And neither did my crew. Or, if they did, they were afraid to say anything.
This is what needs to change. Every crew needs to be like the one depicted in this article. Talking about every aspect of a call is crucial for growth. Reviewing the technical aspects will help you do your job better. Reviewing the emotional aspects will help you do your job longer……