The short video Firefighters Coping with the Aftermath of Suicide takes an intimate look at how suicide affects firefighters, both because they respond to suicide attempts and fatalities and because suicide strikes among their own ranks.
Please share the video with your local fire department (here's the short URL: youtu.be/QSH5EbNhJBA) and encourage firefighters to watch it (it's 11 minutes long).
In the video, Gretta Flatt, a firefighter with South Metro Fire Rescue near Denver, Colo., tells the story of a horrific suicide she and fellow firefighters responded to that triggered distress in her from a long career responding to traumatic incidents:
This is a prime example where I was not aware of how that would affect me personally. This particular call ... is really a hotbed .. I am at the latter part of my career, so it's like things are showing up out of the blue, and I have read about that, but it can really happen.
Dan Mulroney, South Metro Battalion Chief, tells a moving story about how he started working on the issue of suicide prevention after revisiting the suicide of a colleague 20 years earlier.
I went back now 20 years ago to relive the situation, to ask the individuals that were involved how they felt nowadays -- and I got such an emotional response from them that I knew I had to get involved in this and try to help -- because I had people crying about it still after 20 years.
Here are some additional resources:• Safe Call Now
• First Responder Support Network
• The Sweeney Alliance
• The After a Suicide Resource Directory lists resources for first responders on helping the bereaved at the scene of a suicide.
And here's a closing comment, from Chaplain Ken Rice of the Colorado Fallen Fighters Foundation:
Firefighters, they're a tough breed, but they're human too, and they have emotions -- and those emotions can be affected. I don't care how tough they are.