The Impact of Trauma on the Fire Service

Jan 4, 2023

Fire and Rescue ServiceThe impact of trauma on the Fire Service was heightened when listening to today’s news on the release of the Grenfell Tower Fire Report.  My heart goes out to those brave servicemen and women who undoubtedly are still battling with the trauma of the unforgettable tragic events on 14th June 2017.  The work of all personnel in the fire and rescue service impacts their well-being.  They have the most stressful job in civilian society.  All those involved in Grenfell Fire and Rescue from the switchboard operators to those on the front line have and will continue to feel the trauma.

They  hold the tension in their body.  The tension is all stored in the body’s muscle memory, in particular the Psoas muscle.  Most people have no idea where the Psoas is.   It is located in the back body under the diaphragm.  The fight/flight centre and where we hold emotions.  If the body holds all the tension in the body it can then lead to debilitating symptoms, physically, mentally and emotionally.  What else is there then aside from counselling or talk therapy?   How do we find real healing?  Prescription drugs of course but there are more deaths by drugs than anything else.  They only mask the problems anyway, especially  anxiety and depression as one begins to spiral down that big black hole.

Expert Voice

Prof. Gordon TurnbullAs Professor Gordon Turnbull, a highly esteemed world leading Consultant Psychologist said to me when we first connected, ‘We now know we have to get it out of the body as talking just doesn’t do it’.  We have discussed many a time the impact of holding tension from stress and trauma in the body.

It is true to say that most men and women have no real insight as to what they will face when they join service sectors such as Fire & Rescue, Police and Paramedics.  One Fireman shared with me ‘I was 23 when I joined up at the time felt invincible as you do, being a young man. Life and my career ticked by having good and bad incidents but never really noticing any mental challenges. 

I went on to ask him when that all changed he said ‘my life seemed to be going great and then 16 years ago – crash, never saw anything coming. What would be the highlight of your career pulling someone alive from a burning building actually left me broken due to the conditions we endured.  It took me 6 hours to get home such was my shame that I could not cope.’  He had counselling at the time but said he felt worse as it never had answers.

It was not until earlier this year that a series of events left him in a bad way he shared with me what he felt  ‘immense anger, breaking down in tears for what would be the simplest of issues, and thinking of suicide. Yes would say at rock bottom and that crossroads live or end it.’

It was then that a friend who had been in a bad way attended one of our Total Release Experience” Workshops.  As he left he shared ‘Walking from the workshop it was like walking from a dark room to brilliant light, the difference from the start to finish of the day. The subsequent days could take things in again, could start to understand documents again and just felt if this is life, I want some of this. You never notice the small changes and I hadn’t realised the world I had ended in.’

As part of a well-being committee and a well-being champion, this is someone who is listed to help support or just listen to others if they need that friendly ear. He said ‘The Total Release Experience” should be taught to all staff and new recruits as it’s a tool that would save a lot of people like myself who endured a career of mental injuries that never manifest till it’s too late.’

We are passionate about sharing the education of teaching how it is indeed possible to recover from the brink.  Although the memories never fade, one can talk without holding on to the feelings and the emotions that just keep compacting in the body if not released.  Life can be bright and beautiful once more.  Thank you to all those heroes in our country.  They sign up to save our lives but should not be left fighting for theirs.

To find out more about the best-kept secret your body has please feel free to Contact us