It’s been a year since the Beachie Creek Fire devastated the Santiam Canyon (OR), and firefighters in the area are still trying to cope in the aftermath, reports kgw.com. Those struggling highlight the need in the fire industry for more of a focus on PTSD and mental health.
Responding to a devastating fire so close to home took a mental toll on crew members, according to the report, with some saying they’ve never seen such a firestorm before.
Describing the fight as mentally exhausting in the report, one firefighter in the Sublimity Fire District said it’s important to address the mental health needs of first responders. She added that she and her dog joined with First Responder Therapy Dogs to help with mental health issues.
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An official with the Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District added that he has been approached by crew members who’ve said they’ve struggled mentally after the Beachie Creek Fire, the report says. He added that he’s seen progress in the fire service with regards to mental health in recent years. In addition to the canines, he said, there are other resources like peer support and chaplains.
Other firefighters take solace in other ways, such as via spouse, children, or other family members. Despite the method of coping, PTSD and mental health in general in the industry is something every department needs to address.