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Firefighters and Critical Incident Stress: The Most Basic of Survival Lessons

By Melissa Riley Many firefighters reading this are "old school." And if you are, congratulate yourself for being a surviving minority. It means that you have been in the fire service for at least 15 or more years, well beyond the average response life of a firefighter/EMT. The average stay of service is five to seven years. Just about the time common sense is able to override the "squirrel" in all of us, burnout occurs and these seasoned members leave our field. Why is that? Because for hundreds of years the first lesson we learned from the seasoned members around us after a bad call was to tough it out, keep it tucked somewhere deep inside where it cannot be seen, a...

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