Letter: Spouse of Shuswap first responder shares challenges, gratitude

Letter: Spouse of Shuswap first responder shares challenges, gratitude

One in three first responders suffer in silence, resources available to help them and their families

Many people have their opinion on our volunteer first responders (firefighters, highway rescue technicians, RCMSAR crew), but few understand that to these courageous volunteers it’s not a fun hobby or just something to do when your bored.

There are late nights, early mornings, missing out on many things including a warm meal with family. That pager goes off and their life ceases to be theirs, family plans get pushed off, celebrations stop; they could be warm and snuggled in bed one moment and running out the door the next.

Read More: Shuswap fire departments gear up for annual toy and food drives

Read More: Salmon Arm chosen for suicide prevention study

Now it may sound that I’m a bitter person but, on the contrary, I’m one of the spouses left at home when the pager goes off. I have heard grumbling about the sirens or the road being closed. People need to realize these volunteers switching on the sirens and holding up traffic are the same volunteers that may have to save your life from that crumpled car, or put out the fire at your home.

These men and women don’t make money for the most part – there are no benefits or sick pay. They do it for the love of helping others. These volunteers do an unbelievable amount of training and studying so they can do their best for the person in need, but most first responders still have jobs to pay the bills. On occasion, they are able to leave work when the pager goes off, but that often means loss of wages.

Loss of pay isn’t the only thing they have to worry about. Many first responders experience burn out, depression, post-traumatic stress, suicide, or turn to substance use. Not so long ago, all these things were overlooked and ignored.

Read More: Man gets 18 months jail for dealing heroin, fentanyl in Vernon

Read More: Teen developed ‘popcorn lung’ due to vaping: Ontario doctors

One in three first responders suffer in silence, but with a growing willingness to access help, things are finally starting to change. Resources are becoming accessible not only for first responders but also for their families.

First responders are our saviours, the people that are there for us at the worst possible moment. They are the calm, cool, collected person that know what to do when we need them, and rushes to the rescue at the sound of the pager.

To all the wonderful men and women working as first responders, thank you for all you do.

Elizabeth Shaw


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Flooding has become a reality for many communities in the Okanagan Valley as the region faces more extreme weather storms, blamed on the impact of climate change. (File photo)
Okanagan high target for spring flooding

Higher snowpack and mild winter precipitation levels raise concerns for Canada’s insurance industry

The Kamloops RCMP detachment is asking for the public’s help in finding Kayne Pasco, a Vernon man wanted on several B.C. charges. (Contributed)
Wanted Vernon man believed to be in Kamloops: RCMP

Kayne Pasco, 27, is wanted in the province for several offences

Vernon Morning Star columnist Sam McNair gives an inside look to One Yoga in Vernon. (Sam McNair - Contributed)
Small Business Spotlight: One Yoga Vernon

It’s 2021 and everyone is looking forward to a new year full… Continue reading

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon’s Heritage Square long-term care home has now claimed eight lives as of Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19 claims another life at Vernon’s Heritage Square

Eight residents of the assisted living facility have died due to the virus to date

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘It’s incredibly upsetting’: Kelowna health care worker demands WestJet ticket refund

Kelowna woman has been waiting almost a year for a refund on her Kelowna to Edmonton flight

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read