The number one step is to forgive yourself. You are not a defective piece of equipment. You are never a failure for your feelings. There is no dishonor in what you have experienced. In fact, many of the strongest, kindest, noblest firefighters I ever met had come through some terrible darkness and lived to see the other side. Suicide attempts, opiate addiction, alcoholism, poverty, and crime. To come to terms with the dark parts of your history requires great integrity and courage.…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on April 17, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments
You’re rolling around in your bunk. Your weary eyes gaze through the gloom to your digital clock - 3:00 AM. You turn again and sigh. One minute, you’re too hot and kick at your sheets. The next, too cold. You can hear your buddy snoozing on the other side of the room - why can’t you be like him? You know a call could come at any time, but you try to force that thought from your mind. You need rest. You screw your eyes shut, and immediately the day’s events start playing over again in your…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on April 3, 2017 at 11:42am — No Comments
"Compassion fatigue" is a term that may be unfamiliar to some, but is rapidly becoming a recognized issue in our society. One day, fire culture may see compassion fatigue listed and treated as a mental hazard along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Indeed, the two are often parallel . But what is compassion fatigue?
One of the pioneers of our understanding of compassion fatigue was Dr. Charles Figley, who defined it as follows:
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on March 20, 2017 at 11:00am — No Comments
Firefighting has always been an occupation fit only for the brave. In the firefighting community in America today, we face unprecedented new challenges. There is no escaping the reality that the fire situation is getting worse, particularly for firefighters on the ground.
Firefighters are increasingly being asked to cover more areas of expertise in more complex fire environments. Many fire departments are now required to cover Advanced Life Support incidents if they want…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on March 2, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments
In the course of over a decade of continuous war, America’s soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen have served in nearly every climate and conflict type imaginable, from the burning sands to the frozen peaks of mountains. By now, most Americans are aware of the concept of PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Once known as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue”, PTSD is now recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM-5 as a psychiatric disorder. It is increasingly…Continue
Addiction is a mental disorder which affects millions of Americans across the nation. Addiction is characterized by a chronic inability to refrain from behavior which is harmful to the addict. The user feels a compulsion to continue engaging in this behavior, despite repeated bad experiences. Often, the addiction, in fact, continues to grow out of control, with the addict taking increasingly greater measures to ensure access to their preferred method of stimulation, and willing to…Continue
It’s 0400, and the alarm goes off. The synapses crackle to life. Adrenaline, rushing through your brain. The amygdala fires off and muscle memory takes over. It’s a blur as you rise to wakefulness and body your way through the hall to the ready room and from there, the crew carrier, the engine, or the ambulance. This is the life of the first responder. One moment, dead asleep, exhausted. The next, firing on all cylinders, your mind racing, reviewing your SOP’s internally. The teeth clench,…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on January 16, 2017 at 9:00am — No Comments
Firefighters represent a lot of things in the public imagination. Words like “courage,” “selflessness,” “integrity” and “reliability” spring to mind. But there is a darker side to fire culture as well - a system of thought that can sometimes shatter families and lead promising firefighters to an early grave.
Ask any seasoned firefighter whether firefighters drink more than average, and you’re likely to…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on January 2, 2017 at 1:32pm — No Comments
As a firefighter, we face death in a million forms every day. It could be the crash of a falling roof beam, entrapment in a quick-moving blaze, or the slow poison of the toxins we’ve accumulated in our lungs. But there’s one that seems to make some people especially uncomfortable: suicide.
For those of us who have never felt the urge, it can be incomprehensible that anybody would want to take their own…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on December 19, 2016 at 12:30pm — No Comments
Among the well wishes that you will undoubtedly receive as a newlywed couple, friends and family are bound to ask you questions about your future life together. Where will you live? Will you have children? When? How many? What are your occupations? Upon learning that your spouse is a firefighter, you’re bound to feel a sense of pride when you receive accolades about your spouse having a career that is inherently chivalrous.
Firefighting is an important and necessary job. The…Continue
Added by Mark W Lamplugh Jr on December 9, 2016 at 10:30am — No Comments