The preparedness covers many areas. Do you know the role your department would play in such an emergency? Have you trained for the situation? What should a fire chief know to prepare his staff? Have you cross-trained with law enforcement? At most mass shootings fire, EMS and law enforcement are on scene the first five to 10 minutes.
Have you trained with other communities for mutual aid support? At Sandy Hook, William Halstead, fire chief, says he never imagined this happening in his community. Halstead said of the five members on the initial rescue squad responding, two firefighters had children in the school and they were found to be safe. One firefighter’s wife had been at the school but hid behind a dumpster during the shooting. In small towns and rural areas you may know your victims or have family that is killed or injured. Mutual aid is important as these events develop. The potential stress is unimaginable.
Along with training for these situations, do you have the psychological support available should this happen in your community? In this issue of Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal, Douglas Cline writes about “preventing emotional overload.” He talks to us about critical incident stress and how it affects your health, your family life and your career. Carolina Fire continues your mental health awareness in our Homefront special section on page 63 of this issue with articles covering relationships and preparing your family for the worst of situations — your death.
On a lighter note, Elizabeth Robertson writes about a very special “young” man Clinton Lowman, a 93-year-old EMT still saving lives in Icard, N.C. Lowman offers his special brand of advice on page 10. You don’t want to miss it!
Our special guest writers this issue include Chief Kevin Gordon. He asks in his article on page 50 if you are a breakaway leader. He has some interesting thoughts on leadership, but his closing remarks on teaching the history and the reasons for doing so are inspiring. He reminds leaders to teach firefighters the history of the Maltese Cross and why it is so widely recognized and the trust it invokes. He says, “This symbol is widely recognized and instills immeasurable trust in firefighters from our citizens. This is so much the case that when you show up wearing a firefighter’s badge, a mother will willingly hand you her baby.” How many professions get that kind of trust?
If you get a chance, visit the Rowan Museum before January 13. They have a “Where’s the Fire” exhibit that is very interesting to anyone that wants to see how the fire industry has progressed over the years. The article is on the bottom of page 66. The exhibit includes photographic records and many physical artifacts. Looks like lots of fun for all ages.
The staff at Carolina Fire Rescue EMS Journal wishes everyone a happy New Year. We want to say thank you to our writers for the remarkable job they do in providing our readers with training to keep them safe while they save others. We also want to thank our advertisers for providing the exceptional tools and products so critical in getting the job done well and safely.
Let me hear from you. We welcome new writers, ideas, questions, photos and just hearing what is on your mind and what you would like to read in future issues or comments about past issues. We are here to serve you.
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