Juniors, how do you handle the bad things you see out there?
Whether it is on MVA's or the fire ground.
Being younger, as we are, I guess we process things differently and may be more vulnerable to that type of thing.. Me, i usually dont think about it, until after the call, when we're all sitting in the lounge, it hits you, that , what you just saw, is real, and it was a real person..
Some of the stuff ive seen, still sticks with me today.
In this career, your going to see things that stick with you, for better or worse. I'm from a very rural Dept. and Ive pulled my best friend out of a ditch who was DOA. that was my Senior year in HS. Ive lost 2 fellow firefighters in my time. Every one deals with these calls in there own way. Some dont have a problem dealing, some never recover. How well you handle it will ultimately show whether your meant for this job or not. Just know that what your doing may someday make a difference in someones life, whether its pulling a cat from a tree to pulling some one from a burning building or remains of a vehicle. We cant win them all. You have to find your own way to handle it. What helps me, is knowing that what im doing makes a difference. Good Luck, Stay Safe!
Good answer Joe...Im sorry mine was so short above, something happened as I was writing. It is true that everyone handles these situations differently...for me it is handling the "kid calls". Those are tough, probably for everyone. We all have different outlets, CISM, debriefings, working out...whatever...just make sure that whatever it is you see or experience, if you are having problems "handling it" that you seek out the advice of others more senior to you.
There is no set way to deal with some of the things that we see. Some will stay with us forever. Others will seem to disappear and then suddenly years later something will remind you of it and you will recall it vividly.
Juniors should be watched carefully as they are exposed to different scenes. People handle seeing the things we see differently. The best thing is to be supportive to each other. We may joke & tease each other at the station, there will be some people that don't get along as well or just plain don't like each other. But for critical incidents we must put our differences aside and be there to help each other.
This is accomplished manly through talking. It is amazing how therapeutic just talking is. We all need to express what we saw, felt, or thought and listening to everyone tell their story lets us know that we did not go through that experience alone and that we can relate to each other.
So remember the seriousness of what we do. When the call goes out, start putting yourself in the right frame of mind to deal with anything that comes along. Remember that you did not cause the emergency but are there to help to the best of your ability. Nothing more could be expected of you than this.
We don't have a juniors program going right now, but even with the younger members I've tried to sheild them from the exposures, I wouldn't want them to going thought what I've had to deal with. As a Chief or Officer in Charge, you have to know your members, try to protect them, and god forbid take care of them when they are needing help. Each of us deal with the things we ran into though the years in a differant way....That is the reason to have a good Chaplin and a CSI team at your reach. " The ole dogs watch over the young pups" as always been my thoughts.
This is the reason juniors should never be allowed on an emergency scene! No offense but you guys are not emotionaly mature enough to handle the kinds of things you are going to see. Hell I have adult members on my gepartment that cannot handle some of the things they will see. Wait a couple more years and learn all that you can before you start responding, because I promise you you are not missing near as much as you think.
We are not allowed to report to scenes that are fatal because of the severity of the situation. We are not allowed to car accidents even though though they make up more than 30 % of our calls because of the possible fatalities.
Nobody knows what your going through like the guys that were there. Heal your emotional wounds together. It will bring you together as a group. If you really need help see your preacher or dept chaplain if you have one.