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I think I handle stress from a call best by talking to my crew getting their feelings on it while expressing mine Ive learned tough calls not to keep in and bad calls its not a bad idea to have a crisis team come in.
Im not one for speaking to strangers that"havent really been their"but it does help!!
Writing down your thoughts after a call is an excellent way to relieve stress.
It worked for me.
At scenes, I really didn't focus too much on the condition of the patients. Too busy, you know?
But with multiple fatalities, you have lots of time on your hands until the coroner arrives, so you invent little games.
If you obsess about the condition of the dead ones, it will end up eating you from the inside out.
And that's not a good thing.
Anyone who has had a problem dealing with stress and THEN JOINED a fire department isn't going to last long. You have to find a way to control it.
I find that talking to crew members, or friends that are in the service helps alote to deal with the stress. We see things that most people will probably never see in a life time. We see good things, and we see alote of messed up things. If you can not deal with or handle stress, it will eat you up in side. I agree with Art, you have to find a way to control it.....before it controls you.
I am a 17 year vet so I understand your problem. When I first started I was new and really didn't know or understood what it was to be a fireman/medic. After a few years the best way I can tell you is that your co workers are it and find the one thing that relaxes your mind and stick with it(drinking is not it). Basketball or some type of excersise takes a lot stress away. Firefighters are family regardless if like don't like the guy in the next bunk we understand each other in ways only military people understand each other. I am pretty sure after a while you will have figured whom you can trust on the department with that will listen with a open ear and fear not it going any futher..... But most of all pray to the man upstairs and leave you stress with him. Again find something that you most enjoy and it doesn't matter whats going make time for you find a way to releave it.
Thank you Chad for being honest we all know that we have made jokes that would seem so very wrong to others but it is our way to cope and lower the pain. I know I have so ways to handle some things but most of all its getting it out to ease my mind by sharing it.

With all that said if anyone is truly having an issue with stress or pain they need to seek help, the taboo that you are not strong enough if you have a problem is so very wrong I lost a close friend to suicide simply because he felt he would have been weak getting professional help.
Stressful calls and traumatic calls are part of the profession and we have to prepare ourselves as best we can for it...because there will be a bad call eventually. I've been doing this for five years now and well the best ways i've found to handle a tough call is by just talking with my crew and brothers at the station. We recently had two fatality wrecks within 10 hours of each other both involving young people. I guess it's hard to really ever handle it, but talking and being reassured that we did our job the best we could have and there was nothing else we could do. After talking....is veg out and get in the hot-tub with a 6 pack
Our crews for the most part just kind of joke amongst ourselves, sorta pick on each other, we all know its all in fun and we all get a good laugh from it even the one getting the raw end of the laughter. I think thats what our crews do to relieve stress.
We certainly have a tough job. I have been in the fire service for six years. I've seen some things I wish I hadn't seen. I have worked in an emergency room for a Children's hospital for the past three years....again....things I wish I had never seen. How do I deal with it? Well, probably for me a lot of it has to do with acceptance. When I first went to bad calls, it just shocked me because they were things I thought I would never see in my life. I felt as though I was too young to have to deal with what we deal with. Over time though, I recognized that what happens in life is just a part of life. Bad things happen to good people, it's just a fact. People die, property gets destroyed, firefighters sometimes lose their lives. It's a tough thing to do, but I think acceptance has really helped me work through a lot of incidents.

The other thing I try to do is to stay positive. My best example of this is at the hospital. Just last night we had a five-year-old girl come into our ER in full cardiac arrest. We got her back, then we lost her again, and then it was all over. Nothing we could do. It is so easy to focus on the ones you lose. Here in this ER, I have seen many kids come through here in cardiac arrest and somehow we manage to pull them through and they go home. They go home. Those are the ones I look back on, the ones who go home. I still think about those we have lost and the families I have had to comfort, but after I remember them, I always remember a child we saved.

I try to stay away from alcohol. If I am not stressed out by an incident and just having a good time, sure I will drink! But if I come home from a call and I think to myself, "Boy, I could really use a drink..." then I make sure I keep the bottle in the cabinet! I never take a drink when I feel like I need it.
STRESS!!! Talk, Talk, Talk and Talk about it with your peers, your instructors and your command. As said we understand our own.

Yeah. 29 years of service I have seen my share of bad calls and dealing with stress. As Chiefs we have to worry about our members that has been on those calls as well as our own mental well being. We all, each and everyone deals with Stress in our own way. Helping my members deal with stress from a bad call, helps me deal with my stress from that call.

I still can remember my first as clear as my last. These calls never leave our minds. They are tuck away in the back of our mines just waiting to pop up, boom there they are. You see, every time we have a bad call there is something that we associate with that call. What ever that object or thing is, it will show it self to remind us of that one call from the pass.

I had only been in the service for three years when I had my first bad call. It was on Easter Morning, 1983. So every Easter and every time I see a cooked ham on the table I see my first. Flash back.

I had a fire instructor. The one that taught me my basics in 1981. This instructor is responsible for my 29 years in the service. This instructor is to this day a very good friend and still in the fire service. He taught me one thing after I spent three hours in his office talking [key word talking] about this call. He said Dave You'll do two things when you walk out of here. One. You will never go back to the fire service, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Two. You'll walk out of here and you'll learn to deal with this and all the others that will come your way over the course of your career and continue to serve your community. Why. because this is what this line business deals with. The bad. You will also have the good. The good will out way the bad. The good will out way all the bad. Then it will all be worth your efforts.

You know he is right. When you deliver a baby. Save a infant that has aspirated and not breathing on your arrival. You suction her airway and she begins to breath and her color comes back. Then you get to watch her grow up. Shoot her first buck at age 10 [just two days ago]. See the joy in and elderly wife when you save her husband's life. Stop a fire from destroying a families life. Yeah it is really worth your efforts. Yeah the good really does out way the bad.

So, remember when we have that stressful call. Think about the good that we all have done. Talk to your peers. Talk to your instructors. We are family. Family helps each other in celebrating the good and help heel the bad.
Right on Art, I like to write down my thoughts and talk to others, DONT hold it in.
A 30 pack lol
I drink and play video games.

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