New study highlights mental health of first responders following traumatic events

“It was one of those, ‘Oh my Gosh’ moments, you know? ‘I could’ve died,’” said Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief Spokesperson, Mark Brady.

Brady recalls that afternoon in 2009 like it was yesterday.

“We were at a gas leak at a strip mall,” he explained, “in Forestville on Donnell Drive. It was a natural gas leak. We had firefighters going in and out of the building and suddenly a small fire developed from a spark. It ignited the natural gas built up in that building and there was a mass explosion.”

He says one of the cameras on an engine captured the entire thing.

“We had firefighters in harm’s way. They were injured. They all recovered from their physical injuries, but the mental injuries they did not,” Brady said.

According to a Harris Poll survey, which the University of Phoenix commissioned, 80 percent of firefighters questioned say they’ve experienced or been exposed to a traumatic event. For police officers and EMTs who took part in the survey, that number was more than 90 percent.


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