Author: IAFF Center of Excellence Staff
As a first responder, you dedicate your life to your community. You enter headlong into situations where accidents and catastrophic events cause injuries and casualties. Without thought to your own personal safety, you rescue and treat people who are strangers to you. Yours is an admirable profession, one that is heralded by the public, who appreciate the risks you take and selfless commitment you make for the greater good of humanity.
It’s also important to recognize you are human as well, with emotions and reactions that can’t be helped. After you’ve responded to a critical event, your vulnerability to trauma increases greatly. Emotionally and psychologically, you may have reactions that are negative or harmful.
Here are signs that indicate you are experiencing trauma:
Your reactions to critical events are normal; the situations you have witnessed are what’s unusual. You are human and have been immersed in catastrophic and risky experiences that could affect anyone. Even with training, crisis events can cause trauma.
As you get back into a more normal routine, your reactions will decrease. Give yourself 4-8 weeks, and if your reactions are still at an intense level or you are coping by using drugs or alcohol, consider seeking professional help. Trauma and substance abuse are common amongst first responders. You are not alone in this struggle.
These reactions are nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. By being aware of these possible responses, there are steps you can take before, during and after critical events.
Courtesy of: firstrespondersrecovery.com
It is important to remind yourself: