Firefighters love their job, but it comes with hazards that not only threaten their physical safety, but also their emotional and mental well-being.
Responding to hundreds of emergency related calls each year exposes firefighters and other first responders to a tremendous amount of trauma, from deadly car accidents and house fires to medical calls. Their devotion to helping people in crisis comes at a price. “Sometimes it just gets kind of heavy,” explained longtime Tallahassee firefighter Engineer/Paramedic Jamal Simpson. “I’ve had guys come to me and say, ‘Hey, I had a bad wreck and when I opened the door I saw my brother.’ No, it wasn’t their actual brother, but it was someone around the same age, same build, same clothing and those things strike a nerve. Sometimes the guys just keep it in and don’t talk about it or we may laugh about something to lighten the mood, but that is still in the back of your mind. You get enough of those and it starts to add up.”