Mental health support ‘crucial’ for Humboldt crash first responders

Mental health support ‘crucial’ for Humboldt crash first responders
Global News

Among the sorrow, there has been support.

For the families of the Humboldt Broncos, the community and the first responders who were on the front-line and came face-to-face with horrendous tragedy late Friday afternoon.

By Saturday morning, the Saskatoon Fire Department deployed resources to the region to assist emergency personnel who saw and heard things on scene that will likely never be erased from their minds.

There is no telling how this will impact the area firefighters who attended the collision at the intersection of Highway 35 and 335, or for how long.

Nipawin was the lead fire department with 20 members on-scene. They worked with the Zenon Park Fire Department and Tisdale Fire Department, hour after hour in the cold as the sun set.

Alongside them were police, paramedics and bystanders, as well as police and bystanders who were driving by, as they all did everything in their power to save the young men aboard the bus.

Once the rescue efforts were over and the scene grew silent, that’s when the Critical Incident Stress Management Team arrived so the crews wouldn’t have to be alone with their thoughts.

“They feel that the first responders are coping well but these things are never definite,” Saskatoon fire Chief Morgan Hackl said.

Debriefing and defusing within the first 24 to 48 hours Hackl said is crucial, but it doesn’t always mean a total recovery, and the need for mental health support with a tragedy of this magnitude is far-reaching.

“I was at the hospital Saturday and my heart ached for the nursing staff and people at Royal University Hospital,” Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said.

“I said I’m proud of them on their slowest day and I pray for them on days they were exposed to on Friday and Saturday.”

Both departments have assisted in every way possible way, from traffic enforcement on-scene to helping with the vigil, but the mental health component is imperative.

In Nipawin, family members and the spouses of the firefighters there will participate in in the debriefing process. It also can’t be stressed enough that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and the country is there to support each and every first responder touched by this tragedy.

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