We can’t predict the future, but that doesn’t stop first responders from preparing for the things that could go wrong. Emergency medical service personnel are staying up-to-date with their training at the annual North Dakota EMS Northwest Association Conference.
On October 1st, 2017, we experienced the deadliest mass shooting in US history at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas. Assistant Fire Chief Troy Tuke was one of the men who helped the victims, and now he’s teaching other first responders what they can do in a similar situation.
“Sharing with them things that we learned, things that we’re changing to hopefully do a better job the next time … if there is a next time,” says Troy Tuke, Asst. Fire Chief of EMS Clark County Fire Department.
His goal is to get all agencies, from the firefighters to the police to the EMTs, to have open communication.
“The more they talk and the more that they train together, the better they’re going to be prepared for anything like that, that would happen in their system,” says Tuke.
Along with helping their patients, one speaker wants first responders to help themselves.
“Suicide is the number one cause of death in first responders. It’s not a heroic action that causes their death. Unfortunately, it’s the things that they see that develops and causes the thing of death,” says Christopher South, Paramedic with Community Ambulance and Trinity Health.
In his speech, Dead Inside, South shares his struggle with PTSD in hopes of helping others.
One resource he cites is The Code Green Campaign.
“It’s completely free and confidential and any first responder can call and they talk to somebody that does the same job that they do and get some help,” says South.
He teaches a few other topics this conference, including ambulance safety and immunological emergencies.
“It’s not the same old rehash of everything. So, with every subject that we talk about, there’s something new that’s available,” says South.
For that reason, he says this continued education is essential.
“The same providers that are here are going to take what they’ve learned, they’re going to take that knowledge and take it right back out into the streets and we’re going to have better outcomes with patients. And that’s what it’s all about, it’s about saving lives,” says South.
While the Code Green Campaign is a resource to connect first responders who are struggling with their mental health, if you are having thoughts of suicide, you can receive professional help by calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.