Letter: Spouse of Shuswap first responder shares challenges, gratitude

One in three first responders suffer in silence, resources available to help them and their families

Many people have their opinion on our volunteer first responders (firefighters, highway rescue technicians, RCMSAR crew), but few understand that to these courageous volunteers it’s not a fun hobby or just something to do when your bored.

There are late nights, early mornings, missing out on many things including a warm meal with family. That pager goes off and their life ceases to be theirs, family plans get pushed off, celebrations stop; they could be warm and snuggled in bed one moment and running out the door the next.

Read More: Shuswap fire departments gear up for annual toy and food drives

Read More: Salmon Arm chosen for suicide prevention study

Now it may sound that I’m a bitter person but, on the contrary, I’m one of the spouses left at home when the pager goes off. I have heard grumbling about the sirens or the road being closed. People need to realize these volunteers switching on the sirens and holding up traffic are the same volunteers that may have to save your life from that crumpled car, or put out the fire at your home.

These men and women don’t make money for the most part – there are no benefits or sick pay. They do it for the love of helping others. These volunteers do an unbelievable amount of training and studying so they can do their best for the person in need, but most first responders still have jobs to pay the bills. On occasion, they are able to leave work when the pager goes off, but that often means loss of wages.

Loss of pay isn’t the only thing they have to worry about. Many first responders experience burn out, depression, post-traumatic stress, suicide, or turn to substance use. Not so long ago, all these things were overlooked and ignored.

Read More: Man gets 18 months jail for dealing heroin, fentanyl in Vernon

Read More: Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

One in three first responders suffer in silence, but with a growing willingness to access help, things are finally starting to change. Resources are becoming accessible not only for first responders but also for their families.

First responders are our saviours, the people that are there for us at the worst possible moment. They are the calm, cool, collected person that know what to do when we need them, and rushes to the rescue at the sound of the pager.

To all the wonderful men and women working as first responders, thank you for all you do.

Elizabeth Shaw


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Toys for Tots to Teens at South Okanagan secondary school

For the second year Pen High is hosting the annual Toys for Tots to Teens

Vandalism closes public washrooms in Penticton’s Okanagan Lake Park indefinitely

A post by the city’s Facebook said the damage is ‘quite extensive’

Okanagan Water Board opens floodgates with call for grant applications

Water Conservation and Quality Improvement program open from Armstrong to Osoyoos

Community safety, recreation and culture first topics of discussion in Penticton’s 2020 budget

Penticton RCMP clocked roughly 6,000 hours of overtime in ten months, at a cost of $422k

Three-vehicle crash in Penticton sends one to hospital

The Penticton RCMP are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the collision

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Disturbing find: Shuswap family seeking Christmas tree locates several animal carcasses

Black bear, a coyote and five deer found dumped in gravel pit west of Salmon Arm

RCMP uncover meth in arrest of Sicamous woman linked to alleged pellet gun shooting

Police say methamphetamine and other drugs found in car driven by suspect

Pawsative Pups: Help your dog love their crate

Lisa Davies is a new columnist for Black Press who writes about dog training

Spark Joy: The art of giving and receiving

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Coldstream surf shop welcomes winter with paddle

Winter Chill event Saturday, Dec. 21, on Kal Lake is ‘food’-raiser for food bank

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

Most Read