Unfortunately, encountering loss is part of the job for a fire fighter. Whether it’s the loss of a child, a stranger or a crew member, fire fighters can experience multiple tragedies in a relatively short period. Repeated exposure to aversive details of traumatic events can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Because fire fighters often have duties to carry out immediately following a death, you may grieve differently than others. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD while having access to support and an outlet to cope after a potentially traumatic event (PTE).

Shared Experiences and Shared Support
One of the most effective ways to process the aftermath of a traumatic call is to have a strong support system on the job. Your brothers and sisters understand PTEs and how these events can affect you mentally and emotionally. As fire fighters, you work as a team every day, and you can also work as a team to keep an eye on each other’s mental health.

Some locals and their departments have established peer support teams for this purpose. Peer support is one more tool in the toolbox to help grieving or distressed members get the support they need.