They are the ones who are first on the scene. They see the worst and they deal with the tragedy. First responders, police, firefighters and paramedics who responded to the horrific accident that claimed 15 lives will forever carry the scars of that day.
"It's a stark reminder of what our first responders in this province have to deal with," shared Estevan's Police Chief, Paul Ladouceur. "Whether it's an incident with the magnitude of Humboldt or whether it's a fatal car accident or an infant death, our members see a lot of things, non-pleasant things."
Fire Chief, Dale Feser added that he is familiar with many of the first responders who were on the scene.
"We deal with it all the time and it's hard to try to leave work at work and not take it home. We will get through this as one big community."
It may be difficult for someone who has witnesses traumatic events to deal with the aftermath.
"I think the biggest advice is to reach out," advises Ladacouer. "First responders oftentimes want to carry the weight on their shoulders themselves and there's no shame in reaching out. These people go out and they see what a lot of the public don't want to see or don't want to have to deal with, sometimes on a daily basis."
"Talk to your colleagues, talk to counsellors. If you're going through things, talk it out with somebody, don't wear the burden because you can only carry it so long."
"We have a chaplaincy program within the service, there's counselling, there are employee assistance programs available for our members and for first responders to be able to reach out confidentially and seek that help they require."
Ladouceur adds that they have also done mental health training within that organization.
"We take those mental health programs very seriously. Gone are the days in policing and paramedics and fire response where members feel ashamed to talk about this type of thing. I think the police and first responders are doing a very good job at saying, "I dealt with something pretty traumatic and I need to take a step back." We encourage people to do that."
"The best advice I can say to all first responders is take the time you need. As a community, we have to support those first responders in realizing what they are going through."
"Nobody would want to be the first person on that scene but they realize that they're professionals and they have a job to do. They deal with it at the time but it's after when you have to take a step back and just breath and say, "Ok, what do I do now to look after my mental health?""
"These types of incidences are a reminder just how important our first responders are and I can't say enough good things about first responders in this province. They step up to the plate every day and oftentimes it only comes to the spotlight when it's a major incident like this but trust me when I say they are dealing with these types of trauma quite frequently."
"As a Chief of Police in this province, I see firsthand what our first responders do on a daily basis and I can't thank them enough."