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Old 02-11-2017, 23:50
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Default LAS VEGAS- CCFD's new support program helps firefighters through tough calls



There's no question our first responders have a lot of emotional stress when they arrive at a scene. But how they deal with that stress after the call is over, is the focus of a relatively new peer support group with the Clark County Fire Department.

CCFD does still have an external Employee Assistance Program or EAP. However, firefighters say it's sometimes easier for them to talk to someone they know; someone who has been in their shoes; seen what they've seen, which is why this new program is gaining steam.

They're often the first to a scene. The heroes we often credit with saving our lives and our loved ones. But tragically, not every call ends well, and that can take an emotional toll on these brave men and women.

"Those are those things that kind of stack up on you," said Michael Courtney, an Engineer with Clark County Fire Station No 11. "Departments are starting to recognize that has an effect on the rescuer," he added.

That's where the peer support group steps in. It's rescuing for the rescuer.

"We don't ask anymore, we just respond." He added, "We use our own people, our own firefighters, they trust each other, they know they can talk to each other," said Station 11 Captain Eric Husson.

Michael Courtney is one of those people.

"I'm the old guy on this crew," Courtney said. "I've been kind of the unofficial chaplain."

Courtney is about one of 20 current and retired firefighters who are trained to provide emotional and psychological support to their peers.

"A lot of these people, guys, and gals have a hard bark on them. They’ve been doing it for a long time, they've seen the worst of the worst," said Courtney. "When I walk in and they know me, automatically their guard kind of goes down."

It may be the first or only step that's needed, but Courtney said there's comfort in familiarity. Though, he said, he knows he can't do it all. "I can't debrief myself," he told us.

"He, himself had call he dealt with this morning on the way to work that I could tell was bothering him," said Captain Husson.

Captain Husson said they just sat down, had coffee and talked it out.

That's why these firefighters share so much, and now they have the added benefit of being able to seek advice from others who are trained to listen and who've walked in their shoes.

"We want to be proactive and not reactive, said Courtney. "There's real value in just having a conversation."

Courtney also said the follow-up is a huge part of the program because he's learned it crucial to start soon and continue the conversation.
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Old 02-12-2017, 17:35
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Default Re: LAS VEGAS- CCFD's new support program helps firefighters through tough calls

Good start to helping our Brothers and Sisters get through those tough times. I hope those who need it will take advantage of it.
My comments are my personal opinion, based on my life experiences and training. They are not to be construed as legal advice as I am not an attorney and if you act on any of the information I provide in my comments, you do so at your own risk!!
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