Assisting in an emergency can be a traumatic experience, even for the pros. Although first responders like EMS, fire, and law enforcement personnel deal with crisis situations on a regular basis, sometimes these highly trained heroes need extra support, especially in incidences that involve violence.
After the tragic shooting at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police provided a list of resources for disaster response personnel that included these helpful websites, podcasts, and guides:
The behavioral health response to mass violence: The speakers in this SAMHSA DTAC podcast inform disaster behavioral health professionals about the psychological responses to mass violence and suggest strategies and interventions to provide immediate support and mitigate long-term negative mental health consequences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeFrjY9Dfuo&list=PLBXgZMI_zqfRcTt9ndxkbieQ-pQslk-R6
A guide to managing stress in crisis response professions: This SAMHSA pocket guide provides first responders with information on signs and symptoms of stress and offers simple, practical techniques for minimizing stress responses prior to and during disaster response. http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//SMA05-4113/SMA05-4113.pdf
Stress management for emergency responders: What responders can do: This CDC audio podcast is part of a series that examines sources of stress and what individuals, team leaders, and agency management can do to manage the stress. Tips for reducing stress and lessening its negative impacts are also provided by CDC.
Understanding compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction: Tips for disaster responders: This SAMHSA DTAC podcast can help disaster behavioral health professionals learn about the positive and negative effects of helping disaster survivors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSJ0Lk8MsIQ&list=PLBXgZMI_zqfRcTt9ndxkbieQ-pQslk-R6
Guidance is also available to non-professional, Good Samaritan responders and even those who simply witness a traumatic event. Please see our blog “After the Emergency — Helping Rescuers and Witnesses Cope” for tips and resources.
For everyone who bravely steps up in a time of need, thank you for your courage and compassion!
Emergency care instructors: Do you have students who have put their CPR, AED, and first aid skills and knowledge to the test by helping someone in need? Let us know by nominating them as a Good Samaritan.