I have just seen an ad on television describing the effects of the job as a first responder. I had just been speaking to someone about the need for publicity about how the jobs of service providers and first responders can affect them personally.
First responders have a significant job and we hail them for their courage to be first on site. When we create heroes, we must remember they are people and they are vulnerable just like the rest of us. Also when we have such high expectations of those emergency personnel, it makes it extremely difficult and for some, impossible, to let others know their struggles and to ask for help.
Yes we need to have high expectations, but we must also recognize the human cost of the job and make it okay for them to talk about and seek professional help for what they see and hear.
The ad was produced by Tema Conter Memorial Trust, www.tema.ca. I went to their site and they provide a support system for first responders. It is dedicated to the memory of a victim, Tema Conter, started by the first responders to her death.
If you are a first responder, if you are married to one, if your parent or sibling is one, if you have ever met one or needed one, please check this site out. I know employers, agencies and governments provide supports for first responders. it is just sometimes easier or more practical to seek the help from an outside source.
One of the greatest supports to me during the Deer Lake Evacuation, was the presence of our local police every day. I knew these people and I knew they had my back. That was a great responsibility but they were calm, helpful, supportive and more than anything, just present.