The Call That Changed My Life Forever (death of a child patient)

by Mike Crowe

Editor’s Note: Over the years, I have received hundreds of articles from firefighters, EMS, officers, and so on. Mike’s article is by far one of the most poignant stories about his fight to LIVE in spite of his post-traumatic stress and to help others coping with the same.

WARNING: This article MAY be a trigger for some people

I grew up in a small town where the town siren would go off when there was a fire or an ambulance call. Every time I heard that I would run to the curb of my house to see the people responding and to watch the fire trucks and ambulance go by.

After a four-year stint in the Navy, I started to follow my dream of becoming a paramedic by getting my EMT-A certification. I worked for a short time as a volunteer before working for an ambulance company in Omaha, Nebraska primarily doing nursing home and hospital runs. The hospital in Omaha had its own rescue and ambulance, but I still got experience.

About six months after earning my EMT I decided to start my education towards my paramedic license by taking the EMT-I course. I continue to work as a part-time EMT for the town that I lived in doing primarily chest pain type calls, shortness of breath, diabetes, and an occasional car accident. My true first experience that I would call “real” was in Topeka, KS where I had moved so I could be closer to the college I attended to get my paramedic degree. Continue reading

Fighting the Devil Within

by Don Prince
Former Fire Chief

Don Prince

None of us ever wants to admit defeat. It is not in our nature.  What makes it even more difficult for people like us is what we do. We are the ones going in, giving aid, support, sacrifices and sometimes even our lives in order to save others. We are supposed to be the invincible ones and for the most part we are. But ultimately, we are all human; we act and react differently to situations both in and out of the “job”.

Pressure, stress and pain are pretty much unavoidable in all forms: both physical and mental or a combination of them. How each one of us deals with these stresses, such as self-medicating and isolating, is what separates us from our families, loved ones and careers. Continue reading

There Is No Superman! The Role of the Spouse in the Fire Service

by Peggy Sweeney

Editor’s Note: Although written for those in the fire service, you may apply the principles to all professions.

Peggy Sweeney

Over the years, I have been very fortunate to not only instruct firefighters on coping with traumatic loss and grief but many of their wives, partners, and family members as well. When I would ask them for comments, questions, or feedback, I usually got little or no response. Understandably, because spouses are very reluctant to talk in front of their firefighters about their feelings, their fears, or what is in their hearts. Many of them wonder why the warm, loving, and carefree person they married does not come home like that anymore.

I will tell you that I know what many of you fear: your spouse or partner may be struggling mentally and emotionally with the traumas of his or her job. You realize that what they see, hear and feel on a recurring basis is beginning to play a major role in how they view life, living, and their job. When the call goes well, life is good! When their best efforts to save a life or protect property from ruin do not end positively, it is a BAD DAY! Continue reading