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To see or not to see? Now that's a good question.....

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The Mighty Red Watch are most likely thinking its about a said incident and piece of equipment, but don't worry I'm not going to mention it. That can stay with us lol.

I have the constant reminder with me always and a good outlook on life, so all is well.

My perspective is compared to so many with sadly far less, so for my health, I am a wealthy man.

I am truly blessed with my simplicity's I have.

My daughter inspired me to write today, based on something she had seen in the media saying Artist were basically the number one waste of time. Charming to be so supportive of each other. There is no question Doctors on the opposite side of the scale should be number one, followed by numerous other skilled jobs that are here to help others. But maybe it's because it was my daughter's reaction to defending what she is incredibly talented at, that made me want to back her. Sadly, our society is becoming more and more reactive to putting people down, rather than boost and support. I know which side I choose, the more difficult option maybe, but the right one for everyone learns at different rates.

She has sacrificed much to achieve an Honours in Dance and performed in numerous Competitions, obtaining 1st and second places and done shows, all to the audience's delight.

Now she is studying her Masters in Dance Science.

What she is doing is following her dream, "take it as far as you possibly can in life," words of encouragement from her Dad no less. I don't just see my daughter, I see the potential in this person who has the ability and I know she has the determination to succeed. This is similar to Karate, with Gradings and Competitions too and of teaching many students. And to the numerous boys I've taught football whilst being there for my 2 boys over many cold wet years.

In all this, it's her life and her decisions, but I will always support and be proud of her for trying.

If she can see it, then start to believe then she is half way there.

So what has this got to do with the Fire Service and Mental Health?

It's about a performance and doing the best you can for those who need us when called upon.

For the dancers under the spot light, albeit for our entertainment, we don't see the teachers, the stage hands and costume makers that have worked so hard to get it right for the show.

At incidents, we arrive, we are under the spotlight, we turn up and we get on with the tasks required of us.

The public's perspective is, "Great Fire Service is here, they'll know what to do."

It's our decisions and our job roll so not a problem, but every performance is etched into our memory.

It's about a team effort, it's about the Car Crash, (RTC) turning up and firstly protecting the scene and crews so that we can safely get to work in releasing the casualtly,(s). This list is massive and so many variables as vehicles can end up in some bizarre places. There is so much here to think about to look after my crew and the person trapped. I'm being careful not to go into detail and I have so many incidents I could choose from, but there is 1 incident that does spring to mind and is relevant to what goes on behind the scenes and we see it as it is and not the full picture.

We arrived to find 1 vehicle in the ditch with 1 male medically trapped, meaning he was trapped due to injury of the spine where there is potential to make it worse. So we remove the car from the person and maintain them as still as possible with aids of 'stiffneck collars', spine boards, literally hands on and paramedics skills. It's even more challenging when it's in a ditch and getting dark, but this was an easy one.

This involves literally cutting the car doors and roof off, some say it's a bit extreme, but you have to remember this is our working environment and we have to be able to safely get in close and lift people. For this incident, I wasn't in charge, so I was hands-on and using the cutting tools and making it safe for his extrication. The young lad, possibly mid 30's, said he had previous injuries to his neck and spine.

As you can imagine cutting a car has it's own problems with Restraint Systems everywhere, and all hidden behind the plastic curtain rails and posts of the car. This information is being fed from the driver who is constantly sending messages and researching the vehicle's systems that show us the hazards it has, should we cut in the wrong place. Nobody wants a 18kg metal cutting shears in the face when the airbag goes off at 200mph if we cut in the wrong place.

We get to a point where the last cut of the roof should be the one next to the driver and then its up and away in a controlled movement to allow paramedics and us more space to safely operate. The cuts can make the vehicle shake or jolt and create loud bangs. The shaking we control by blocking it up off its wheels, but the noise we can't do much about. We used to have 'ear defenders' on the trucks, but with cutbacks they were deemed not a necessary piece of equipment.

We didn't need them, but the lad in the car certainly did, for he was military and had been blown up in an armoured vehicle in conflict and whilst stuck injured inside, was also being shot at.

This had not entered any of our minds, I kept reassuring him and talking to him about our every cut so he was aware a bang was about to happen. What must he have been going through? He remained calm, but was clearly not comfortable. Knowing more of PTSD as I do now, this lad was amazingly controlled handled it well. I'm sure he would give a totally different opinion.

This extrication was a successful one, but it made us all more aware of the number of people affected by so much that's sadly still going on in the world.

So the performance is not just what's in front of us, it's everything we have witnessed and experienced up to that point in time.

We are all treading our own journey in life carrying our own troubles.

So please bare in mind that not all troubles are visible.

Remember we always have a choice of what we actually see.

I choose to see the positives in life and be grateful for what I have.

My health and my home, my wife and kids and family and friends, although sadly not seen for 8 months and so many colleagues ( that are also close friends,) I will return and hug you all soon.

Keep safe and keep talking, be the hand to help others.

The show must go on!!


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