Bryan Ratushniak spent 32 years working on some of the busiest fire trucks in Canada. He was promoted to the rank of Firefighter Captain before retiring, and received several letters of commendation for rescues made on the job. In Aftermath, he recounts the ups and downs of his career in a memoir filled with candid, humorous, tragic, and hopeful stories.
Being a first responder is not an easy job, physically or mentally, and although the public very much admires firefighters, we don’t generally give a lot of thought to their well-being. Ratushniak bravely reveals how being a “hero” led to struggles with mental health, detailing the emotional damage inflicted by the horrors of the job and how he came out the other side, more or less in one piece.
“I felt as if I had overdosed on dead people. I was really tired of seeing death over and over again. … I wasn’t sure how much more mental anguish I could stand.”
Originally from Geraldton, Ontario, Bryan Ratushniak moved to Toronto as a young man to become a firefighter. As a firefighter, he started competing as a bodybuilder winning Canadian Drug Free Athlete of the Year 2004 and Natural Mr. Canada 2005. Since retiring has worked in the film industry as a screenwriter and producer. He lives in Toronto with his wife and dog and family.