The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster journey in that I've transitioned from a Firefighter/Falconer, knowing my identity and role, and then in the last 4 years, I have lost it all. And to add we have moved country twice in the last 2 years, this has been stressful enough. Ok, it was our choice, but the last move and decision was a difficult decision to make.
To help heal, we had to do what we did. Our health matters too. As does yours. Arriving in Portugal in February things have changed in me and doors have opened. It has been hard work, and I've been to many deep places within, but all well worth it. Anyone who has reached rock bottom knows there are only 2 options and 1 is not taken lightly and the other is to get back up. I have somehow during this time and during some of the most stressful times I've faced, I have completed 3 books and have all published in a bid to raise awareness of PTSD and mental health aimed at Emergency Services, but naturally, this extends to everyone. I have had acknowledgement from many, including friends, family and complete strangers and I have been blessed to voice this to the Tomorrow magazine and The Portugal News.
Plus I have completed part of a filming of a documentary with Blue Worm Productions. This is to continue in the UK next year. Having support from so many is amazing as being vulnerable is not an easy place to be.
I haven't got everything sorted. I just deal with the day as it progresses, some better than others.
I am positive and my energy is infectious, and collectively we can make a huge difference.
Seeing the Bombeiros, (firefighters here in Portugal,) being able to have a voice was brilliant.
What I can say through my observations, are that Senior management, it would appear, no longer listen to those working on the ground floor as it were and who are risking their lives. Not being listened to, is incredibly detrimental to others and their health.
I have had Firefighters and Nurses, contacting me in this very short time, sending me messages voicing major concerns and details of how they have been treated, or should I say 'mistreated'.
So much for 'Bullying and Harassment Policies.'
And I thought my series was complete, but I cannot help be drawn to help colleagues and fellow Emergency workers in raising issues they are now facing. This isn't to attack Senior Management directly, but if they are offended, then there must be truth in what is raised. This is to make Chief Fire Officers aware of what their Services and members are dealing with.
Remember they cannot speak out for fear of being sacked.
This is in my mind, Bullying and Harassing.
Was this not brought in to protect them?
I am fully aware for being honest I would be sacked if I was still in service. This deeply saddens me.
If CFO's can stop and see what they are doing to their service then maybe they can stand up and be counted. Collectively they need to act fast and prevent further cutbacks.
Simple facts, if you stretch your crews further, they will break, physically or mentally, or both.
Who is going to run out and rescue your broken crews?
Trust me some are so close, you have no idea.
Trucks will not be manned and no longer turn out.
Covering the cracks with 'Over Time' to cover shortfalls in numbers, is short-sighted.
And if the wages were decent people wouldn't have to do overtime.
It should be a choice, not a necessity.
This isn't the public sector service I signed up for many years ago.
CFO'S, Human Resources, Occupational Health:
Ask who is really proud to serve!
Ask who is happy with the way they are treated?
Ask who feels they are being listened to?
Ask who is close to breaking point?
This last question they can answer without being threatened with the sack.
It's honest and true, very real. You may be shocked at the high numbers.
CFO, this is 'Your service'.....you are the voice of the service.
You can speak up and make a difference. I fully sympathise, but please 'Rescue' your crews.
I have left, and yet I haven't. For this reason, I want to publish another book, based on the voices of the unheard Firefighters. And extend this to Ambulance staff and Paramedics and the Police, who can no longer stand up for their rights and go out on strike to protect their conditions of service.
I cannot get sacked for being honest. Maybe if I can say on serving members behalf, many CFO's may wake up to the crumbling service they have under them, they maybe are just not aware of the desperate situation.
For anyone wanting to voice please contact me. This isn't a witch hunt, so please keep it sensible. But the more I hear the more I am incredibly shocked. Obviously, all will be kept closed to protect.
I have highlighted my issues of PTSD, in my books that you may find helpful.
Proceeds go back as previous books, as will this 4th book. www.firemanstiredeyes.com to contact or DM
Most problems are lack of communication, but if a voice is under threat or 'censored', how can it be heard.
Not just listen and pay lip service, but listen and hear what needs to be heard. I truly 'Miss the Clowns', but definitely 'Not the Circus'.
Stay connected and reach out if needed, don't suffer in silence.