Sunday, 9 March 2014

Early responders – they must be honoured: Heroes are human

Recovery, not rescue - very difficult.
The undercurrent is terrible at Bala Falls.
This new initiative (2014 Heroes are Human Tour) PTSD made me think about our crews, again:

PTSD affects at least 24% of emergency services crews in Canada

Having long been an advocate for our fabulous volunteer firefighters, as well as paramedics, local and provincial OPP, I have consistently written: Honour our First Responders!

Friday's Lanark County fire:
Fire in Rideau Ferry was rather scary.I've come across my fair share of good people. I remember when we called an ambulance for my late father, a neighbour (a firefighter volunteer), turned up even though he wasn't on duty. When paramedics turn up at the door, you have such a sense of relief, knowing the professionals have arrived. It is comforting. Someone else can take charge.

I spent some time being a Victim Services Volunteer. That gave me an inkling into what that pager means; hearing those inevitable Friday afternoon sirens in Muskoka, knowing crews were being dispatched, waiting for a call, and wondering what was happening.
Bala Falls - a dangerous place to swim.
It took hours to recover the bodies.
I remember my first, and only, call: for a neighbour checking in on someone and found he had committed suicide.

I remember that fateful summer in Bala, when we had too many drownings, a father and an uncle, non-swimmers whose families were swimming at Bala Falls. This kids were wearing life jackets and drifted out with the current, but the men sunk in the undertow trying to bring them back. Such a dangerous practice, swimming there.

Most ignore the signage.

swimming at Bala Falls.
They is much controversy around
resurrecting this hydro dam!
See Bala Falls Hydro Project
Danger - fast water

The recovery was difficult for all involved.

People might wonder why I would create this video, but it demonstrates the fine work of our emergency personnel, as well as the number of female volunteers in Muskoka.

Also, it helped the families overseas, who failed to understand why the two men were not saved. A family member commented on my video:
You are right I talked to my cousin (Barad Bhais wife) and she told me that rescue team did best to get them out alive, but it was unlucky, we all are very sad. We can understand that how painful is this to lose your love ones. Thank you for giving us glimpse of that area which some how some relief. We wish we could do some thing. Lots of prayers and God bless you all.
Men and women work hard

PTSD is a concern:
You could see the impact on the faces and through the body language of the volunteers. The crowd, seemingly fascinated with the lurid event, were silently honouring the crews. I don't think the EMS crews understood this. We could empathize, and were grateful they were there to recover the bodies, and help the families, relieved the victims were not our family members.

Directing traffic in 2009
Many chose to watch the rescue effort.

Drowning Statistics 2008
This amazing volunteer went to his wife,
who was directing traffic, and gave and got a hug.
You can see the stress in his weary shoulders.
BLess his heart.
Bala Falls drowning 2009
Drowning statistics 2009
Drownings in Ontario - Statistics 2010
Drownings in Ontario - Statistics 2011

Critical incident stress management is an important part of preventing and/or identifying PTSD. Putting all the stories together, your realize the enormity of these tasks; this is terribly hard work.
Pros and volunteers work together.
Muskoka Lakes fire #3 and 4 were in attendance
We honoured their work,
even though they didn't sense
that the crowd truly respected them.
The poor family was distraught
BBDE critical incident first morning here!

fire and rescue

Kemptville incident

Merrickville demo

Bala: Muskoka Lakes fundraiser
Smiths Falls crew


eileeninmd said...

I am very thankful for all the hark working volunteers and rescue workers. I can only imagine the stories they have to tell. They are heroes.. have a happy day!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Sounds like you have put some good time in to this cause!

Carver said...

They do such important work. I'm not surprised that PTSD would be a concern. Great feature.

Christine said...

it does look so tempting to swim there. And the adults weren't wearing life jackets too sad.