“Until you step into a fire engine, until you step into a police cruiser, until you step onto an ambulance, it’s really, really, hard to truly understand what it is that we experience on a relatively regular basis.” – Firefighter Don
On Memorial Day 2011, a mother frantically called 911 to report that her son was attempting to commit suicide. In his early 50s and unable to swim, he was wandering farther and farther into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay, and Firefighter Don and his crew, along with other teams of first responders, were dispatched to the scene. They arrived quickly but found themselves unable to adequately respond, as budget cuts had eliminated water rescue training and forced the department to cut back on the resources and gear needed to safely attempt a rescue. Instead, they were left to watch helplessly from shore and wait for a Coast Guard response that came too late.
Join former firefighter/paramedic and host Phil Klein as he shares the mic with Don, a paramedic and fourth-generation firefighter who knew from an early age that his life’s path was one of public service. He discusses how the hotly contested incident strained the relationship between the community and first responders and caused the pendulum of public opinion to swing from viewing them as public servants to public enemies. He also shares the profound impact it had on his life, as it became the tipping point for his decision to change departments. Now a certified first responder life coach, Don works to help first responders address a variety of life issues ranging from weight management and maintaining a work/life balance to alcohol abuse, tobacco use, and mental health. You can learn more about Don's work by visiting firstresponderlifecoach.net.
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