If we’ve learned anything from the year 2020, it’s that our first responders play an essential role in our society. These individuals put their lives on the line, working long shifts. Their contributions to our safety are often understated or taken for granted. That’s why October 28 has been declared First Responders Day to recognize our firefighters, police, and emergency medical services.
Here in Colorado, where Terra Vida is based, wildfires have caused thousands of evacuations and millions of dollars in damages. The 200,000-acre Cameron Peak fire is the largest in the state’s history, and the East Troublesome fire runs a close second encompassing nearly 190,000 acres. Our first responders have worked diligently to contain the fires and help those who have been impacted.
Why First Responders Deserve Our Recognition
First responders have very stressful jobs that frequently expose them to upsetting events. Not only do they work long shifts (sometimes 24 hours), but they also witness violence, gore, and other distressing situations. According to research, 85 percent of first responders experience mental health issues, and more of them die by suicide than in the line of duty. Diagnosis of PTSD are ten times higher among first responders than in the civilian population. Unfortunately, many of them feel tremendous pressure to appear “strong,” which can prevent them from seeking help.
By showing our appreciation for first responders and destigmatizing mental illness and PTSD, we can create a safer environment for the people who keep us safe, despite the dangers of their jobs. It all starts with the recognition of their sacrifices to protect us — and how we can help them in return.