Jake Babcock, City of Altus Fire Department firefighter, directs the placement of a two-by-four during a structural collapse exercise, June 21, 2016, Altus Air Force Base, Okla. (Airman Jackson Haddon/DVIDS)

Planning For Trauma: How To Protect Firefighter Mental Health

Practice is an important element in success. A football team practices plays over and over again to have their playbook memorized. An actor practices lines until they are memorized. Practicing response as a public safety professional is no different.

Firefighters, police officers and EMTs must train extensively on a myriad of topics to be both effective and remain safe. Law enforcement officers perform active-shooter drills; firefighters hold live-fire training burns; and EMTs simulate mass casualty incidents to be prepared to respond in any situation. Yet, one of the most damaging experiences for these men and women is one that very few actually prepare for.

Public safety personnel are often exposed to horrific scenes in the line of duty. These professionals respond to tragic events that permeate all senses including sight, sound and smell. Unfortunately, there is little-to-no training offered to adequately prepare public safety professionals to process trauma. This training gap doesn’t make sense: firefighters, EMTs and police officers are far more likely to experience trauma, so why is there not more training to prepare them?

Read the full article at FireRescue1.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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