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  • #16
    One thing I was taught early on and taught all my EMT students, regardless of the the report on page think of the the worse possible situation you can and how you will handle it, focus on the job at hand as you expect it. That way once at the scene either you are pleasantly surprised (if it is not bad) or prepared (if it is as bad as you thought).

    As a CPR instructor (in the good old days of mouth to mouth), I was always asked what happens if the pt. pukes in you mouth. I told them I puke and get then back to work.

    More then once I had newbies worried about how they would perform. Most of the time their training kicked in and they did great. My bigger concern is afterward they got to voice any issues.
    Last edited by mjollnir_k; 11-23-2010, 01:22 PM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by mjollnir_k View Post
      As a CPR instructor (in the good old days of mouth to mouth), I was always asked what happens if the pt. pukes in you mouth. I told them I puke and get then back to work.
      I also as a CPR instructor, have been asked that many times, and that is my exact same answer.

      But I am a probie going through the academy. My department lets me ride to the scenes and observe/accountability board/fill air tanks on fires. My first double K entrapment, one of the other firefighters asked me how I was handling seeing my first bodies. My response was I'm okay with it, didn't gross me out.
      Like you I still wonder myself. I am wondering if things might be different if I'm actually involved at the scene.

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      • #18
        If you are properly trained and know what you have to do, chances are you wont be affected by what you see in the line of duty. Most of the time I just see a faceless victim, and don't have time to take in the gruesome reality of a scene. What you have to remember is we're there to help. Even if you lose a victim, or they're badly injured, you have to remember that they'd be worse off had you not done your duty that day.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by kylemacphee View Post
          If you are properly trained and know what you have to do, chances are you wont be affected by what you see in the line of duty. Most of the time I just see a faceless victim, and don't have time to take in the gruesome reality of a scene. What you have to remember is we're there to help. Even if you lose a victim, or they're badly injured, you have to remember that they'd be worse off had you not done your duty that day.


          Kyle, you have never made a traffic accident where people are torn apart.

          You remember what they look like for months afterwards and dream about it.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by kylemacphee View Post
            If you are properly trained and know what you have to do, chances are you wont be affected by what you see in the line of duty. Most of the time I just see a faceless victim, and don't have time to take in the gruesome reality of a scene. What you have to remember is we're there to help. Even if you lose a victim, or they're badly injured, you have to remember that they'd be worse off had you not done your duty that day.
            Bu||l$h!t. You don't know what you're talking about.
            Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by kylemacphee View Post
              If you are properly trained and know what you have to do, chances are you wont be affected by what you see in the line of duty. Most of the time I just see a faceless victim, and don't have time to take in the gruesome reality of a scene. What you have to remember is we're there to help. Even if you lose a victim, or they're badly injured, you have to remember that they'd be worse off had you not done your duty that day.
              I'm pretty good with what i've seen, but to say that they become faceless or that I wasn't affected by the gruesome-ness of the scene... I don't know about that.

              I remember the one and only CIS Debreifing I went to and was suprised at some of the folks sobbing who didn't even see the bodies or really even get closer then the sidewalk.... Were they making it up? Were they insane?

              No... they were just affected differently.

              I will say that the experience turned me off to the CISD process.

              Its not always about the gore. It can be the transposition of people you love with the deceased/injured or just the reminder of the frailty of life.

              The incident that comes to mind was a gentleman a bit older then me involved in an MVA going to work, another car (driven by a drunk/high creep) crossed the median launched into the air and crashed through the driver's window. He never saw it coming, it wasn't gory but the thought of some guy just driving to work and wham.. gone. Stuck with me for a while.
              Last edited by ChiefKN; 11-29-2010, 11:13 PM.
              I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

              "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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              • #22
                Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the point I was trying to get across with that statement. I wasn't saying that gruesome injuries/fatalities don't affect me, and shouldn't affect other emergency personnel. I'm a compassionate person, and yes alot of the time after an incident I'm shook up for a few days or even weeks. What I was trying to explain was that this comes after. On scene you know to always expect the worst, and that you have a job at hand. Sorry if you guys thought I was being insensitive, that wasn't what I was trying to say.

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                • #23
                  so does all of this effect anyones home life? I don't want to be a burden to my family because I am having a difficult time with something of this nature.

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                  • #24
                    I guess I am just worried that I will be turned off of something I already feel that I am meant to do. I have never really had to experience much real life gore. I mean movies and stuff sure no big deal to me but real life is totally different. I am 18 and a freshman in college I am seriously considering that after i finish this year going to school to be a firefighter and then start trying to get on at my hometown. I don't want to do all this and then the gore and emotional effects impact me so much that I find out that it isn't for me. I don't think it will be that big of an issue but I tend to think of things in worst case scenario and I can just see myself wondering what to do next because the only thing that has ever interested me career wise has been firefighting. Has anyone else ever been in my situation??

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by ccarlin52 View Post
                      so does all of this effect anyones home life? I don't want to be a burden to my family because I am having a difficult time with something of this nature.
                      It has never been an issue for me. I come from a family of firefighters and my wife has always been supportive and just knew when I needed her support.

                      Originally posted by ccarlin52 View Post
                      I guess I am just worried that I will be turned off of something I already feel that I am meant to do. I have never really had to experience much real life gore. I mean movies and stuff sure no big deal to me but real life is totally different. I am 18 and a freshman in college I am seriously considering that after i finish this year going to school to be a firefighter and then start trying to get on at my hometown. I don't want to do all this and then the gore and emotional effects impact me so much that I find out that it isn't for me. I don't think it will be that big of an issue but I tend to think of things in worst case scenario and I can just see myself wondering what to do next because the only thing that has ever interested me career wise has been firefighting. Has anyone else ever been in my situation??
                      I think most are surprised at what they can endure and work through.

                      Gore is a pretty rare occurrence for most firefighters.
                      I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                      "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                      "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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                      • #26
                        That is good to hear! I want to thank all who have put any input into this subject. I want to pursue this career more than anything and you all here on the forums have helped out a great deal with any of my questions that I have had. My father works alongside firefighters so he knows a little bit but other than that I don't really have anyone that i can talk to daily that is a firefighter except for all who are on the forums. So I just wanted to say thanks to everyone on here who takes the time to answer the questions of new firefighters and prospective firefighters. It helps out a lot!

                        Cole

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                        • #27
                          I think you'll find it's kind of like a roller coaster. At first you'll be shocked, surprised, angry and sometimes even entertained at some of the things you'll see. Then you become a little more hardened. Maybe even cynical and dismissive. Then you get older and start seeing people around your age with serious medical conditions and it hits closer to home. My worst times were pediatric calls when my kids were younger.

                          There are no magic words of wisdom on this subject. If it ever stops affecting you completely, get into couseling or find a new career. I've got 27 years on the job this month. I'm still coming to grips with things I saw 20 years ago.

                          Good Luck. Stay safe.

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                          • #28
                            As others said, it is not the gore of the trauma, but the emotional trauma that gets to you. One medic shared this story with me (he didn't write it, just pointed me towards it) and it made me think of this thread:

                            http://ambulancedriverfiles.com/2010/12/stains/

                            I have my own thoughts on the link but I don't want to color or shade your view of the article. Suffice to say it does illustrate the point we're trying to make.

                            Personally, I have not had problems. My first code was also my first fatal (scene pronounced), and I was working with an older detailed guy. He saw me a week later, and asked what I thought of the victim. I jokingly replied, "I think he's dead", not really understanding his question. He answered, "Then you'll be OK in this job." I do remember the victim, and a few of the others along the way, but not all. The ones I remember most are not the goriest, or the most sympathetic, or any rhyme or reason, just some stuck with me while others are just "meat".

                            Meanwhile my one partner has been doing this 4 times as long, and nothing ever bothered him either. Then one day we had a "routine" trauma code, and he nearly had a breakdown. All of the past ones came to haunt him, but especially the most recent one. Thing is, that one had no gore at all; we think he coded then crashed in a single car MVC, no blood or outward signs of trauma. I doubt he'd be one I would remember if not for the effect it had on my partner. My buddy had to go get counseling as it really did start to affect his sleeping, and in turn his home life, etc.
                            Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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                            • #29
                              Thanks for the link! it was great. It brings things into prospective and I hope that in my career I end up saving more lives than I see people pass away.

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                              • #30
                                At first you may be like me - I got that feeling of "whoa", and I am generally pretty good with stuff like that. The first time I saw someone getting compressions done on them I was somewhat taken back, but then I saw it again. Then one day I was doing the compressions myself. After seeing it a couple of times you really get used to it. You really just need to keep in mind that you're there to help people in need, and that you're bound to see some grotesque things in this line of work (volunteer AND career).

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