Every day, we see the worst day of someone’s life.
First responders are resilient people, but we all respond to a few bad calls. What determines a bad call varies by situation. Sometimes, you may not be able to put your finger on why a specific call gets to you. Your bad call may not be the same as your partner’s. It could be something that doesn’t even register in their mind. Trauma is unique to each individual and sometimes there aren’t logical reasons you can pinpoint why one call might bother you. It could be that the patient was the same age as your child. It could be that the scene smelled like your mother’s house. These triggers are personal and sometimes not easily explained.
Here, we offer ways to process after a bad call, explain some of the psychology behind why particular calls can get to us, and provide information about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in first responders.