Firefighters Turn to Each Other For Support


(WVLT)- Firefighters who work with the four who were injured are riding an emotional rollercoaster as they cope with what happened Wednesday morning.

Very strong emotions can follow a traumatic experience. That's why the Tennessee Emergency services chaplains assosiation has set up the "Critical Incident Stress Management Team". It's a program providing help and healing to firefighters overcome with emotion.

We see what's on the surface...we hear the call...feel a rush of adrenaline...maybe even smell the smoke that's rising into the city's skyline. But what we don't realize is that fire can damage a lot of things...some things we can't even begin to understand.

"We had a close call yesterday, that's tough on us, that's tough on all our people," KFD Chaplain Paul Trumpore said.

"Things deteriorated as quick as I've ever seen on any fire I've ever been on," Captain Dennis Noe said.

But when firefighters face the heat...

"It was really the worst feeling that I've ever felt," Noe said.

...they have their peers to fall back on.

"We don't like helplessness. We don't digest it very well, so we turn it into self-question and self-doubt and self-blame," Trumpore said.

The healing process begins with "Critical Incident Stress Management".

"It's not just going out there and putting wet stuff on red stuff," Trumpore said. "You gotta know how to do it, you gotta know where to do it, you gotta know when to do it."

And after the fact, sometimes these guys need guidance to overcome their emotions.

"You might go to a quiet spot and pray for a firefighter that was injured," Captain Frank Mallory said.

"When I get back here, I start thinking about all those things that could have went wrong," Noe said. "...It's good just to get this stuff off your chest."

They lean on each other as they learn.

"By going through the process, we hold onto our people better, we get them so they can get back on the horse and doing things they gotta do and taking care of each other," Trumpore said.


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