By Katherine Cook, KGW8:
The Portland Firefighters’ Association Local 43 has launched an effort to seek more help from the city in coping with their most traumatic emergency calls.
“We’re trained to raise ladders and pull lines but we’re not trained to deal with the stress,” said Isaac McLennan, Vice President of Local 43.
McLennan said he’s pushing to end a stigma some firefighters believe.
“Some still think that if they seek help after a traumatic call, it means they’re weak or they can’t cut it,” said McLennan. “We’re really good at treating other people, we’re not good at treating ourselves.”
The union also wants the city of Portland to improve PF&R’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Trauma Intervention Program, both operated by only one person — June Vining.
“We have over 700 sworn members and one person who’s trying to be a clearing house,” said Vining. “You know, I do just what I can to answer the calls that I get, but being proactive is a dream and not a reality right now.”
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