First Responders: Called to Action…Then What?
There are times when we are confronted with life threatening situations. You could be crossing the street when a car flies through a red light. Maybe you’re hiking in the woods and get completely lost despite your best preparation. Those are the times that we may need a hero, a rescuer, a First Responder.
There are natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods due to hurricanes or record setting rains as in Louisiana. We also see all too common wild fires, such as in California, that impact tens of thousands of people. Sadly, there are also tragic situations demonstrating man’s inhumanity to man including violent crime, war, and terrorism. These events swirl into our frame of reference, both domestically and internationally, via the news, our social media feeds and even in our own neighborhoods.
In each of the examples above, there are people who will get the call to “come to the rescue.” Those First Responders including Firefighters, Police Officers, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), Military Service members, Emergency Room staff, crisis intervention specialists, government officials, and more. Each is trained to assess the situation in front of them, and then act according to their area of expertise.
A police officer tries to identify what happened, look for additional threats and find a resolution, while a firefighter seeks extinguish the fire out as quickly and safely as humanly possible. EMTs and Emergency Room staff all have to diagnose the severity of the injuries and decide on the appropriate treatment under the circumstance. Crisis intervention specialists and government officials deal with ongoing emergencies or their aftermath, while those in the military are by definition, engaged in activities where their lives are on the line in any given moment. We applaud all of the above for their efforts, but what happens when the smoke clears or the waters recede?
The Seven-Stage Crisis Intervention Model was created by Albert R. Roberts and Allen J. Ottens to help professionals develop strategies and tactics to effectively and efficiently deal with emergencies. That is great for systems but what about the people who actually do the work?!
In June, Let’s Check-In shared information on dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because it was PTSD Awareness Month. We were happy to do so at the time and continue to talk about issues related this issue because it is important, and because nobody gets a pass - especially those whose calling requires them to run towards danger in our complex world. First Responders, we are talking to you!
You may encounter a variety of struggles as the adrenaline rush of your job eases back and you strive to live a good and happy life. Let’s Check-In focuses on connecting with other people and leveraging the power of empathy to support not only the healing process, but in creating a structured approach to communicating with others so you don’t wind up dealing with your own personal crises.
The most important element to all of this is to do your own assessment of your situation, just as you would on the job. Find people that you can trust to share your thoughts and dreams with on a regular basis. This is especially true when you are feeling vulnerable.
You have a tough job by any standards. And, you know that the trials and tribulations of everyday life don’t slow down one bit because you ran into a burning building, helped to defuse a bomb, or rescued a frightened grandmother from rising flood waters. Be good to yourself so you can continue helping others. We all need you!