In an article today by Standard-Examiner reporter Tim Vandenack, we learned about a recent push by local residents to help retired first responders — namely retired firefighters in Northern Utah.
The problem, we’re only now realizing as a community, is that we demand the services of these men and women at tragic and often traumatizing scenes to help manage them and keep us all safe. It comes with many costs, and one of those can be the well-being of those first responders.
In 2019, most of us are familiar with the term PTSD, though perhaps more in the context of soldiers who’ve served in the military. However, there are many in our community who suffer its effects — flashbacks, anxiety, and thoughts about the event. Many police and fire departments in Utah provide access to resources and services for officers and department staff who must encounter these difficult situations on a daily basis in a given shift, so that the rest of us do not have to. These are significant and beneficial changes in recent years to these first responders, and necessary if we are to help retain the workforce that provides these services now and in the future.
Likewise, it benefits these first responders, and so therefore the public safety of our community, to provide community and mental health resources for retired first responders who still carry the weight of their work with them past their active working days.
We commend organizations like the Huntsville Marathon, Weber Fire District trustees and others who have already made donations to this specific new program. We urge others who seek to aid in strengthening the health of our community to also think of contributing so it may be funded for years to come.