Ohio firefighter hopes to raise awareness after struggle with post-traumatic stress

  • Source: Newark Advocate
  • Published: 01/08/2019 12:00 AM

Since his earliest memories, Jason Hufford has always wanted to be a firefighter. But what he wasn't prepared for were the many traumatic experiences that would have an affect on his mind and eventually, his body. Nor was he prepared for the yearlong journey he endured to become an advocate for first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress. About 27 years ago, Hufford, now a Newark firefighter, got his first fire certification and began volunteering for Heath. A few months later, he was one of the volunteers to respond to a fatal bicycle crash. There were dozens to follow - the majority of them involving children who died in fires or car crashes. In 2017, after yet another child died in a car accident, Hufford found himself dreading work and suffering chest pains. After talking to the chief, Hufford said now he talks to new hires and shares his story with them, so they can talk to him if they need to. He lets them know it's okay to feel what they're feeling and it's safe to talk. It's difficult for Connor to know where to start. There's no instruction manual. But he's been talking to fire chiefs in central Ohio to see what they're doing for their firefighters.


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