Line of Duty Death Survivors: What Do They Need to Cope With Their Grief?

by Peggy Sweeney

Let us not forget the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives doing their duty to protect and serve. We remember law enforcement and correctional officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel.

Most people half-heartedly acknowledge or completely ignore the news item while searching for more significant information relating to their personal lives; a baseball score, stock market figures, want ads, or horoscopes.

Civilians cannot relate to this type of tragedy nor can they comprehend the depth of grief and gut-wrenching pain that every member of the department is feeling as a result of this tragic death. Their lives will not be changed by this tragedy. Unfortunately, this is not true for the family and co-workers of this fallen hero. Life as they knew it will never be the same again. Continue reading

A Quiet Moment, God Is In Control

by Chaplin Kathy B. Thibodaux

“God is in control.” This is such a simple statement, yet one that exhibits a deepening faith, which requires that I trust in the Lord with all my heart for every situation and circumstance. God has a master plan, a higher goal and a special purpose for my life.

His ways and thoughts are not my ways and thoughts. I may even fail to comprehend the path that I am following; but I must not lean on my own understanding. In all ways, I am to acknowledge Him for He is God, the Creator. He knew me before I was formed inside the very womb of my mother. He knows my thoughts before I ever speak a word. Nothing I do is hidden from His eyes.

God is my King, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He is my Rock of Refuge in times of trouble, my Haven of rest, the Balm of Gilead, the Healer of my Hurts, my Place of sanctuary and my Kinsmen- Redeemer. God will make my paths straight with His wisdom. He will show me the course to navigate for my journey. With His strength and mercy, He will guide and direct. 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