Need to talk? 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) - 24-hour toll-free phone line
Firefighter Self Care; Disaster Management Plan.
This format is designed to be a "First Use /First Choice" model that aims to assist the firefighter/ first responder in choosing some basic steps before becoming injured physically or suffering a psychological wounding in the Line of Duty.
Having a personal plan makes sense in an "Occupation that has such a High Degree of Daily Risk Exposure" to the individual who is a "VOLUNTEER OR A PAID PROFESSIONAL".
In all walks of life we are constantly exposed to "RISK". As such it is a common event when you think about it. The difference between common daily risk and the POTENTIAL FOR THE TRAUMATIC WOUNDING EITHER PHYSICAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL is compounded by the choice we make as individuals as to the type of "VOCATIONAL OR PROFESSIONAL CALLING". Choosing firefighting/ems/or police first responder adds to the daily mix of ordinary stress and puts the individual in an arena that is rewarding and exceptionally challenging.
To have thought out in a rational and intelligent manner, what needs to be done within the personal circle that the individual has built up as a circle of care givers as in the family context, or the widened circle of professional friends and contacts then, having those who care for the care giver, armed with the knowledge of what is wanted and may be needed to be done comes under a developed "Personal Disaster Management Plan".
In this way, we can return to our professions "When" and not "if" we find ourselves occupationally injured either physically or emotionally.
The list should start out with;
What if? And the developed answer should be written in for the anticipated desired results.
What will be needed? Again, developed according to your specific needs.
Time line for recovery: Based on discussion with your primary care giver/attending Dr. Etc. But inclusive of the added time to adjust for the emotional wounding from physical trauma and psychological rehabilitation from the wounds of the mind, heart and soul.
Support Services List: Get to know where and how to get the type of help needed and let those who care about you know where they can go to access the help on your behalf.
Self Advocate: Someone you trust who can speak for you if you cannot. This is common sense when you apply the level of risk and exposure to personal trauma we all face as "First Responders"
This list is by no means definitive. I is designed to stimulate some intelligent discussion around the coffee tables in the Station Houses or whereever you as a "Fire Fighter Veteran" decide. It does, in the final sense, cause all of us to re-think and to invite those who care for us, to be inoled in the strategies that will keep us safe and help us to return to our chosen professions in a more advanced manner than is currently the model of assistance being used and suggested.
By having a "Personal Disaster Plan" we are taking personal responsiblity. In doing so, we are acting for our own best interests before the system starts doing what it does best. And we have all worked for the system long enough to know that mistakes happen all the time. Expecting the best and planning ahead is one way we can stay ahead of the curve.
North American Fire Fighter Veteran Network
Care for the Care Givers
Stay Safe and Healthy for All the Right Reasons