Just a Dispatcher

by An Anonymous Dispatcher

You’re just a dispatcher. You know nothing, and you see nothing, so it can’t bother you.

Really? Dispatchers don’t see anything. They should all be fine.

These are just some of the things many dispatchers are told during their careers. On the surface, these comments may sound reasonable, logical, and correct. After all, they spend eight to twelve hours a day answering phones and responding to the radio, how bad could it be?

We are inside, typically in a climate-controlled environment. We can utilize a restroom when needed. We don’t get stuck on long perimeters. And we lack the face-to-face contact with the community we serve. It sounds easy…it sounds like the secretary that so many like to define us as being.

Continue reading

Ode to the Mind of a Correctional Officer

by William Young

Editor’s Note: I wish to tank Officer Young for sharing his story. 

William Young

I hate that I’m at my best when I’m at work. For eight or twelve or sixteen hours a day, I am full of piss and vinegar. I’m upbeat and witty and I laugh and I joke and I do my best to promote an atmosphere of teamwork and positivity.

I am a performer putting on an act for my co-workers and our clientele. Hell, I may be the Celine Deon of the Correctional world.

I conversate and I deescalate. I investigate and I interrogate. I separate and I segregate.

I make small talk about sports and I field complaints. I make split-second decisions with long-lasting ramifications. 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

Invisible Wounds

by Anonymous

Author’s Note: I would like to thank this brave officer and their spouse for sharing this article. I know it was not easy for them to lay out their lives as they did. If they can help one officer or first responder get help, the mission was accomplished. I encourage all who read this article to please share it with an officer or other first responder you may know. You may be saving a life.


I can’t un-see what I have seen

Ever since I was a little child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a police officer. My parents would listen to my tale over and over again. After graduating from college, I accepted a position as a Director of Finance. My parents questioned me about my career choice knowing finance was not what I aspired to do. At 22, I knew this wasn’t going to be my permanent career as most people who just graduate take a transition job until the right one comes along.

Fast forward 10 years and I thought it was time to live the life I was meant to live…..to finally achieve my dream of being a police officer. I worked in a busy police department and eventually made rank. Continue reading

SUICIDE: The Mental Cost of Being a Firefighter

by Peggy Sweeney

“Training them to deal with trauma, stress, and grief is no less important than training them to be safe on the fire ground.”

Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2010 it was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 38,364 deaths.  One of the major risk factors for suicide is depression, or a substance-abuse disorder — often in combination with other mental disorders. More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors. (Moscicki, 2001) Continue reading

Slow Death of a Firefighter

by Timothy O. Casey
Firefighter/Paramedic (deceased)

As a firefighter/paramedic for more than 30 years, I can safely say I have pretty much seen it all. I have seen death in every incarnation, and life as well. We on the front lines are not invited politely to join in the fray of life; no, we are thrust into chaos on a daily basis, it’s our job.

It is, to say the least, an unusual profession. No two days are alike, and no two emergencies are alike. The environment is rarely predictable and the events and people even more unpredictable. Yet we go.

Who takes care of us? Our families? They try, I know mine did. But the average or normal person cannot share our experience, they can’t imagine what we do or see.

I know that many days I felt like a human garbage collector, picking up the waste of society. People, although fascinated with the gruesome, macabre, or terrifying, only see it from a distance. We hold it in our hands and get it on the soles of our boots. Continue reading

When a Call Becomes All Too Personal (your child’s death)

by Tim Trickey
Captain, AEMCA
Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant [Paramedic]

Editor’s Note: Tim wrote this article in 2014 to help emergency responders cope with tragic calls, but most importantly, to share how he copes with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Sadly, Tim died on December 17, 2017. He leaves his wife and son to mourn his loss, as well as his crew and those whose lives he touched. Rest in peace, my friend.


I was asked by a very dear friend that has helped me through some very difficult years, to tell you about my daughter, Natasha.

I am a Paramedic in Ontario, Canada. Some of you may have been in the Kingston area where I am still working. Ten years ago, I was the supervisor of a small, rural volunteer ambulance service that, at the time, had a call volume of about 500 calls per year. Like most, we hope we never have to respond to family emergencies. But like all small communities, it is usually someone you know, or in my case, family. 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