CHRIS SMITH THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | August 8, 2018, 5:55PM
Chances are you’ve asked a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician you’ve met: How do you get by and stay normal, given what you do and witness day after day at crime, fire and accident scenes?
The truth, say retired paramedic Susan Farren and retired firefighter Ron Shull, is that many first responders are eaten up by what they experience on the job.
“We were never taught to deal with the traumas we faced,” said Shull, who served 31 years with the Santa Rosa Fire Department.”
Last year, more police officers and firefighters died by suicide than in the line of duty,” Shull said at the Sonoma County Fair booth and he and Farren are staffing.
Indeed, USA Today reported that 243 American law-enforcement officers and firefighters took their own lives in 2017, compared to the 223 killed on the job.
Retired paramedic Susan Farren started First Responders Resiliency Inc. in 2017 and now has a contract with Cal Fire to train thousands of state firefighters in methods to deal with the inevitable stress of fire season. Photo taken on Thursday, January 21, 2021. (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
Susan Farren, second from right, practices yoga during a retreat organized by First Responder Resilience LLC at Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena , Calif., on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.(Beth Schlanker/The Press Democrat)