When Durango firefighters and paramedics pass through the city, they are reminded of past calls, like echoes in time – a crash at that intersection, a bodily trauma call in that house, the loss of a loved one for that family.
“It’s like going down Main Street being like, I’ve seen a dead person there,” said an engineer in the department, who asked not to be named to maintain his privacy.
Nationally, emergency services are fighting for the long-term mental health of their personnel. Now, Durango Fire Protection District and other regional fire districts are developing a new tool to expand and reinforce existing support: each other.
In January 2018, Durango Fire and Rescue began building a peer support team where emergency responders, backed by mental health training, provide confidential support for their peers. In May, the Colorado Legislature funded a statewide peer health assistance for emergency medical service providers.