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  • Firefighting trauma remains overlooked

    University in Sudbury, released a thesis in August examining how volunteer firefighting departments in several municipalities across northeastern Ont{CottageCountryNow.ca, 30 December 2010}
    the proper heading for it, but it deserves to be posted.
    I found this in one of the local rag papers on Friday. Not really sure if this is

    By Cameron Ginn

    Dec 30, 2010 - 10:48 AM

    Firefighting trauma remains overlooked

    PARRY SOUND - A local scholar has revealed some dark truths behind volunteer firefighting in rural Ontario.

    After two years of comprehensive research, Brad Campbell, a Seguin Township resident and graduate from the School of Social Work at Laurentian ario cope with trauma.

    By conducting interviews with nine volunteer firefighters from several different departments, Campbell explored both strides and shortcomings in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition of mental or emotional affliction following a severe psychological experience.
    “It’s the same stuff as Iraq veterans,” said Campbell, a former firefighter who was injured in the line of duty.

    “I don’t see a lot of difference between firefighters and a person in the armed forces.”

    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, much time, money and resources has been invested into studying the affects of PTSD on urban firefighters.

    But Campbell’s thesis is one of only two that are known to exist, their focus being how a lack of training and psychological treatment influences a volunteer firefighter’s ability to deal with traumatic situations, such as a train derailment or a horrific car wreck.

    “You’re seeing people on the worse day of their life; their house burnt down, they had a heart attack, something bad happened,” said Campbell.
    In one interview, a volunteer firefighter describes being unsure whether he was mentally affected by a scene “where there was a guy with no face and another guy with no head,” he said.

    Another firefighter recalled becoming so emotionally charged after receiving a distress call that “it’s almost like preparing for war.”

    Without immediate treatment, PTSD can lead to anxiety, stress, hyper-vigilance and, in extreme cases, substance and physical abuse.
    Left unchecked, the condition can negatively affect efficacy and attrition rates at rural volunteer fire departments, Campbell concluded.
    “If I’m having to do 30 hours a week, or 20 hours a week, between class and training, that’s interfering in your life a fair bit,” he said.

    “You’re having to put these tons of hours in, and a lot of the guys are burning out.”

    For volunteer firefighters in northeastern Ontario, where distress calls are growing more complex every year, finding professional treatment for PTSD is a brutal process, says Campbell.

    Whereas in cities and urban areas, firefighters get departmental social support and higher levels of training, which empowers them to cope with more traumatic events, Campbell explains.

    “If you feel you can handle any situation, there’s less chance for PTSD,” he said.

    Although some departments are making considerable progress in taking better care of their volunteer firefighters, Campbell recommends that training modules be reviewed annually, trauma be introduced as an inherent risk, and that each station establish an anonymous way for firefighters to get help.
    “PTSD, while it doesn’t happen a lot, is totally treatable, totally treatable,” Campbell emphasized, “in a very short period of time, and a lot of people quit before they’re identified as having post traumatic stress disorder.”
    The 95-page thesis can’t easily be summarized, but Campbell said the shortage of resources at volunteer firefighting departments in northeastern Ontario can be narrowed to two political questions for governing municipalities, which ultimately determine the structure of firefighting services, said Campbell.

    “How much service do you want to provide, and how much are you willing to spend?”


    Anyone with counselling experience looking for a possible relocation??? BTW, I do not live anywhere near the areas referred to in this article, but as with most of us here, I have participated in a few counselling sessions due to some real nasty events. We all know the value of them.
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  • #2
    Very interesting, I've never seen a study on PTSD done in a rural or volunteer setting.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
      University in Sudbury, released a thesis in August examining how volunteer firefighting departments in several municipalities across northeastern Ont{CottageCountryNow.ca, 30 December 2010}
      the proper heading for it, but it deserves to be posted.
      I found this in one of the local rag papers on Friday. Not really sure if this is

      [/color]

      Anyone with counselling experience looking for a possible relocation??? BTW, I do not live anywhere near the areas referred to in this article, but as with most of us here, I have participated in a few counselling sessions due to some real nasty events. We all know the value of them.
      It's pretty intersting buddy! Keep it up!..
      Lifecoaching | Varmepumper | Rygestop

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