Wellness important for first responders

First responders endure more in the line of duty than most of us can fathom. If you know someone who is a firefighter, law enforcement officer, emergency medical responder, dispatcher, corrections officer or in the military, you may have heard then occasionally discuss what a day at work is like for them. Your reaction may have been something along the lines of “How do you do this every day?” And chances are, what they’ve let you see is only a fraction of what they go through. What they live with.

That takes a toll, and we as a society are just beginning to recognize how badly we have let down those who have felt as though they just needed to deal with that toll — and were willing to do so, to fulfill what they believed was their duty.

Last week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a step in the right direction, with the creation of the Ohio Office of First Responder Wellness, within the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Office of Criminal Justice Services.

This new division will offer specialized support and training to help our day-to-day heroes address post-traumatic stress and other trauma.

“First responders are truly public servants who put the well-being of others in front of themselves. Unfortunately, the stress of constantly responding to terrible situations like murder scenes, house fires, and tragic accidents can take a toll on the mental, emotional, and physical health of these heroes,” DeWine said. “By creating this new office within the Ohio Department of Public Safety, we’re creating a centralized resource to help our police and fire departments, EMS units, and other first-responder agencies actively place an ongoing focus on wellness with assistance from those who’ve faced some of the same unique on-the-job stress.”

Good. What these men and women withstand for our sakes was unimaginable for most of us, even before COVID-19 changed us all. Bravo to those who will work to make sure first responders know they have backup.


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