When disaster strikes, first responders are always the go to help. Those day to day calls can take a toll.
The U.S National Library of Medicine indicates regular exposure to traumatic experiences might put firefighters at a higher risk of PTSD.There is help for them in the Quad Cities.
Local 4 News spoke to local firefighters to get a deeper look into their day-to-day lives.
“I started off- more so i wanted to go into law enforcement i figured that kinda wasn’t for me and then go into the paramedic and fire side a few years ago and realized this is it,” says fireman and paramedic Jacob Mussman.
Like a lot of other firemen, Mussmann took the job with the desire to help others.
But he says it’s not easy and being mentally strong is required to do the job.
“You have to be able to switch your mind to the right channel per se to be able to handle those kinds of things. Because you might go from that 90-year-old not breathing to a baby that just needs to be you know, fixed up.”
For firefighter and paramedic Reno Horton, those are the kinds of calls he can’t forget.
“Watching people in situations where they can’t help themselves necessarily and then seeing the people who are their caretakers and are supposed to be you know their protectors, sort of speak. And then we show up and the person is not being helped. That can definitely be wearing, ” says Horton.
The International Association of Fire Fighters says 65% of 7,000 firefighters across the nation said they are haunted by memories of bad calls. To help lower that number locally, the Moline Fire Department offers a hand.
“Moline and the Moline Fire Department do offer an employee assistance program or an EAP program to any of our employees or firefighters that have any sort of issues with bad calls. Dramatic calls,emotional issues, things like that,” says Steve Regenwether, Chief of Operations at the Moline Fire Department.
Despite the hardships that come with the job, the team is what firefighters say keeps bringing them back.
“The support system at home is very helpful and then the support system we have here is phenomenal as well,” says Horton.
” I love coming here. You know its kind of a weird thing. I have a family at home but i have a different family here,” says Mussmann.
The Davenport Fire Department also offers in-house help for their employees.