‘I’d like to ask the public to pray for first responders’: Shreveport fire chaplain speaks on trauma
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Many of our first responders might be reaching the point of exhaustion, not just physically, but emotionally as they repeatedly respond to non-stop violence.
With the recent string of violence and officer involved shootings, the community and first responders are feeling the impact of stress and trauma. Chaplain Michael Perser knows all about the stresses of the job and how first responders are dealing. He’s calling for support, patience and prayer.
“We don’t see the things just like the public sees. I’m not saying that we’re different. I’m saying that the aspect of what we see, we actually have our hands on, and we’re actually working with that patient. And it’s a little bit different than if you were seeing it as a bystander,” Perser explained.
During academy training, they were taught about stressful situations early in the process that they have to defuse through critical stress management.
“The different things we are having, storms and violence, it all applies. We encourage them to talk about it. We have peer support. We have a lot of people on the job that are trained to peer support,” Perser said.
“We have a lot of people on the job that are trained in stress management. We have an employee assistance program that they can go to as well. And through the International Association of Firefighters, we also have the Center for Excellence because these things untreated can grow.”
Perser says it’s hard to get first responders to deal with trauma because they sometimes don’t even realize when they’re traumatized.
“I’d like to ask the public to pray for first responders: our police officers, our firefighters, our nurses, our doctors. We respond to your absolute worst day; nothing in the world is ever happened this bad to you before, and we respond to that. And it doesn’t just affect you, it affects us as well.”
Copyright 2023 KSLA. All rights reserved.