Wednesday, January 12, 2011
PTSD in Firefighters, First Responders & Other Rescuers
First up, an NPR article about how the constant threat of working as a first responder or other rescue worker can build up until PTSD symptoms develop.
"Little by little, it just started to build, and then one day, the slideshow that was all these events started running in my head and I couldn't control it," Michael Ferrara told NPR. It all came to a head for him when a friend of his was killed while on duty.
According to NPR (itself covering a story from Outside magazine), PTSD often goes undiagnosed in these occupations because the men who fill these jobs do not like to admit when they are in emotional pain.
But better understanding of PTSD allows both managers and rescue workers to not only deal with their symptoms better, but to recognize them when they first show up.
An Ontario-based newspaper called Cottage Country Now also discusses how volunteer firefighters can be ill-equipped to deal with the trauma of their jobs. Part of this comes from constantly working with survivors -- or seeing those who did not survive. "You're seeing people on the worse day of their life; their house burnt down, they had a heart attack, something bad happened," researcher Brad Campbell told the paper. Campbell's study is one of the first major studies of PTSD in firefighters.