Thursday, 18 February 2016

Behind the Seen

No my grammar hasn’t slipped; I’ll explain and it will become clear.

About 15 years ago my son decided to join the NSW Rural Fire Service[1] (RFS). He is now a retained firefighter with NSW Fire and Rescue. Even as a young volunteer he had to learn to cope with attending incidents with traumatic sights.

When someone becomes a member of the emergency services it opens up a new world to their family; a world they are often protected from. It can make it difficult for them to understand what their “hero” is going through. They change. Their family can see it, their workmates can see it but they are reluctant to talk about IT.

What is IT? IT is what they see and deal with in their job.

In Australia there is an organisation called Behind The Seen. They understand that all emergency services personnel see what others don't.

They understand that practical help is needed to deal with the horrors and prevent them from growing from and grim memory to serious depressions or post-traumatic stress disorders. They can cause nervous break downs and family break ups.

Unfortunately our governments here do far too little to support the men and women we consider heroes and I understand in many places around the world it is not much better; often less support.

Behind the Seen has created a series of programs developed to raise awareness of the unique lifestyle and incident stresses experienced by frontline emergency service providers and their families.

It supports first responders by providing some simple tools that will support and protect their fellow work mates and their families.

For more information on how Behind the Seen works please visit their website

[1] For overseas readers the Rural Fire Service is a volunteer organisation in NSW trained to fight fires in rural areas of the state. As even some town on the outskirts of Sydney don’t have a full time fire brigade these volunteers are often called to house fires and motor vehicle accidents.