TPD hoping to prevent officers, first responders from developing PTSD

TPD hoping to prevent officers, first responders from developing PTSD
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - First responders are asked to run towards danger, while most are running away. This is why it's not uncommon for the job to wear on them.

Toledo police and fire crews are making it a top priority to make sure these horrific scenes they see on the job, don't take more of a toll.

"It's not just police officers. It's detectives, our dispatchers, it's everyone who was involved in that," said Toledo Police Chief George Kral.

Numerous police and fire departments in our area have teamed up with Workplace Resources, a facility to help anyone going through difficult events.

"It's not just my responsibility to give the officers good police cars, good firearms and good body armor but also to keep them mentally strong if you will," Chief Kral said.

That is why these trained trauma counselors are critical to the recovery after a horrific scene.

The department encouraged their officers to get help after seeing some extremely graphic incidents, but now they are mandating this help.

"We've done it a few times, and we've gotten a lot of success out of it," Chief Kral said. "So we're trying to make sure we use it as often as possible."

John Lewton, President of Workplace Resources, says they want to prevent traumatic responses. This way they are not taking these events home to their families.

"When it comes to putting on that blue suit all of it is body armor, and it's emotional armor too so we have to provide a place to take that off so they don't take it home with them," Lewton said.

Volunteer firefighters especially have a hard time coping with the graphic images they may come across.

"They don't see as much of it, they don't get inured to it," Lewton said. "They don't build up any kind of what we call image armor, you know, emotional defense against seeing that stuff."

Both TPD and Workplace Resources recommend the best ways to deal with traumatic events is just to talk with a loved one.

They also find exercise and hobbies outside of are healthy ways of dealing with stress.

These resources will continue to be available and hopefully bring relief to those who serve and protect our community.

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