A recent spate of line-of-duty deaths and injuries hitting the San Antonio fire and police departments has those agencies taking a harder look at their members’ mental wellbeing.
San Antonio firefighters are still reeling from the May 18 strip mall fire that took the life of firefighter Scott Deem and left firefighter Brad Phillips badly burned; he’s still recovering.
And San Antonio police are faring no better. They lost Det. Benjamin Marconi in a November 2016 ambush during a traffic stop. This past Thursday, two more officers were shot while investigating a car theft — Miguel Moreno died; Julio Cavazos is still recovering.
“We come to work. We put on our equipment. We put on our armor,” Yvonne Garcia, a licensed counselor and peer support coordinator with the San Antonio Fire Department told KENS. “We put on our emotional armor and we take care of stuff. But when we go home we take off the physical stuff. But it’s hard to take off the emotional stuff.”
Talking with family, clergy, friends or other coworkers is encouraged, she said. The talks Garcia said she has with firefighters are comfortable kitchen table moments where they get a chance to vent.
“We have feelings we need to deal with like everybody else,” she said.