We're all scared of something. Myself? Like Indian Jones, I'm petrified of snakes! I had one start chewing on my arm when I was about 13 and after that, never been the same. A call with snakes is the one thing that would DEFINITELY freeze me in my tracks. How about you? What call would/has stop(ped) you in your tracks? What scares you in the fire service?

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Not feeling down deep in my heart that I did all that I could have done.
Matt, you say that like there is something wrong with running screaming like a little girl ???
Heights use to be such a bad problem for me.

So my chief made me carry down my entire department one guy after another - for hours - down a ladder off a 2nd story roof... UNTIL... I was comfortable with heights and high-rescue...

then EVERY roof related call thereafter for the next year, my chief MADE me go up and work the roof... and the ENTIRE department was MADE to be supportive of me and help me with the issue... not give me shit, just help me work through it... and teach me skills

I was initially pissed - but it saved my life at several scenes - so my chief knew what he was doing !!!

and it built the trust of my guys when I carried them each off the roof - even if they were 1 1/2+ times my size in height and weight
yea, that always bugs me.

Could I have done more?
Could I have done that differently?
Could I have changed the outcome?

One thing that has helped me. Life is a learning journey. No one has all of the answers. We do the best we can with the information that we have at the time and make the most complete decisions we can as quickly as we can. WHEN WE LEARN MORE WE DO MORE!

As more information comes in, we can change our strategy and try new approaches. We can not beat ourselves up for not being psychic and being able to predict all dynamics of each situation. We do the best we can to anticipate situations and do the best we can to reduce the negative impact to all involved. There is always a positive and negative to every situation. Tough decisions OFTEN have to be made in this industry to make sure that one or two victims does not become three or four victims.

Most times there is NO perfect answer or perfect way to handle a situation. There are many ways to handle situations. There is too many components of each decision to spend expansive time analyzing each component.

The key is to LEARN from each experience and USE IT to guide your decisions as you go forward.

We honor those that we lose by using the things we learn to save another in the future.

SO... Talk it through and Ask yourself:

* Do you use what you learned to help guide your future decisions and work now?


i was involved in an accident in the middle of nowhere. as the only one with any mobility (but also the most medical training) i had to leave the scene to go get everyone medical assistance. one person died while i was gone. i felt bad as though i should have stayed and done more. after some time, it was pointed out to me that I had to leave the scene to go get help... it was the best decision with the limited info I had. It was also pointed out to me, after great torment to myself, that i was also a victim in the accident and that it was unrealistic that I should have expected from myself, as another patient in the situation, to be super human and also be providing patient care.

it was also pointed out to me, since then, when I was in another accident situation - despite being hurt, I did provide patient care to the others... (since this time, there were others to go get help). This helped me understand that I was not neglectful in the first situation; instead it was just different and I made the best decision I could with what I had in each situation.
Calls involving kids....
I hear you lutan. I know the day will happen to me, and I fear that day I go to a SIDS call or anything with a child death...
Great advice Heather, thanks for the input!
self-loathing ?
Well Brad I thought of you last night. I removed a large snake and a fat gray lizzard from a burning apartment complex. In that one apartment there were 5 snakes, 2 lizzards, 5 ferretts. They all lived.
It's funny how we were talking about it a few hours before.
lutan, Yes I hate calls with kids when the page comes out it makes me sick in the pit of my stomach. I can't help but to shake all the way there. God I hope I never have to deal with a child death.
I don't want to respond to child calls but something inside forces me out the door. The first child vs car I went to I was the only firefighter on scene. It was pretty traumatic for me to deal with it by myself and it was only some bumps and bruises. But I am getting where I can handle it a little better.
Heather your right we can train learn to use are tools and tatics. But you have to learn how to apply that to the situation at hand. That only comes from experience.
Ralph cats don't burn, when I was young my brothers house burnt. He had a cat that he hated. The house was fully involved we were standing out front. When the cat jump though the window. I mean a double glass window, broke the glass out coming though it. I remember my brother saying " Well I lost my house and I am still stuck with that DAM CAT ".
It loved to claw his face while he was sleeping. But it belonged to his little girl so he was stuck with it. LOL

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