It’s likely you’re already very familiar with the term physical safety. Have you heard about psychological safety? There are several practical things you can do to ensure your own psychological safety at an incident.
- Mentally prepare yourself for what you’re likely to see. By gathering information about the incident you can start to prepare yourself for some of the things you might see or be involved in. This step can be likened to putting on your PPC before you head out to an incident.
- Check how you’re feeling. Are you feeling a bit anxious about what’s to come? If you’re feeling more anxious or concerned than usual you can alter that state by taking 20 deep breaths (in through the nose and out through the mouth). This step can be likened to assessing the risk.
- Listen to your ‘gut’. If you arrive on scene and experience an overwhelming sense that you should be avoiding a particular course of action or getting up close to something that is particularly gruesome, then you should probably avoid that situation. It is important that you let somebody know at this point. Seek out the appropriate officer in charge and ask them to allocate you to a more suitable task or reasonability than the one that has been proposed. This step can be likened to adapting to a situation.
It’s quite normal to respond to ‘routine’ incidents in a manner that is not how you’d usually respond. Take time to reflect on your experience and talk to others within your brigade. Welfare Services can also assist members with these types of discussions. And remember, you can contribute to your community and brigade in a number of ways by undertaking different roles.