24 APRIL, 2020 - BRINGING THE VIRUS HOME
As an early or team responder, I have experienced many people who simply refuse to deal with emergencies or extremely ugly unbelievably messed up situations, even when "they" were a cog in the emergency team... it is a type of event-shock... they quit, run away or hide until the crisis is over, or even pretend that it’s not (cannot) happen at all, leaving anyone on their team that depends (ed) on them high and dry. It is dangerous.
This can take on many forms, when TSHTF it doesn't always follow those 911 or Chicago Fire TV success stories, or those "staged" training regimens (usually dry Corporate designed-managed) sessions, no one could ever possibly dream up or recreate these real-life razzmatazz situations.
"Always missing" in these "dry run" training sessions are the very important elements of Sound... the chaotic yelling, radios, sirens, rescue or out-of-control machinery running, the roar of fire or water-wind-rain and buckling/collapsing groans, panicked-injured-wailing animals and people. The Smells... breath taking acrid, toxic, stinky, eye-watering, sooty or vision masking, even blinding, needing breathing apparatus, of unknown makeup and dangerous? The general Atmosphere of a spectacle, tension, fear, lots of commotion, weather conditions, temperature (in waves and layers), the footing with its unknowns of debris and ground conditions, darkness-lighting-flashing and reflections, and always the seeing and unfamiliarity... of all types.
Your Preparedness... and how well "suited up" you are for this endeavor, are you in your underwear and shoeless, or in full regalia ? how is your Chi level (that vital energy that animates you mentally and psychologically), can you clear your head for the imminence of what is about to unfold? this is where "experience" is of central importance to your surviving the event (in all ways).
The Duration... from start to finish, the cleanup, after-wash and refurbish are as big as the event, the toll of tension, heat/cold/wet, and no coffee break (like in those training sessions), even sleeplessness are adrenaline cured (only temporarily).
And the very important, never discussed, PPEM... personal post-event management, Emergencies/Disasters create a simultaneous duplicity of numbness and hyper-awareness that is unique to each event exposure. It is depleting, exhausting, unforgettable, ugly and lasting.
There are a great many "one-time" first responders that never recover, cannot recover, from seeing, experiencing, the "insider" view of a major "emergency/disaster" event, and, there are many that accumulate and fold mid-career... and still, many others that are devoid of any impact from response to emergency.