First responders train for critical calls such as pit crew CPR for full arrests and motor vehicle accidents with heavy damage, where they use the jaws of life to extricate people from the vehicles. They also practice scenarios of providing medical treatment while inside a car. Transcript: "Can you provide an example of what type of critical calls that first responders train for? There's a bunch of different types that we train for. But something that comes to mind, we do what's called pit crew CPR for full arrests. So we have a role going into that type of call, whether it be the airway, whether it be jumping on the chest, doing CPR right away, whether it be doing the drugs with the I.O. or you're the one in charge and you're the one calling the shots and you step back and you're running the call. That way everybody knows their position or role when that type of call comes in. We train for motor vehicle accidents with heavy damage to get the jaws of life, to extricate people out of the vehicles within a timely manner. And depending on how long that takes, we run that scenario too. If it takes a long time, then we're running that scenario of, okay, we need to start EMS and get the paramedics inside that car to start treating the patient. So those are just a couple examples. There's many that we train for, but that's pretty much it for now."
The purpose of debriefing after a critical call is to talk through what could have been done better, in order to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. It is important to process the call so that there are no long-lasting effects on those involved. Transcript: "How do first responders debrief or reflect on their performance after a critical call? And what is the process or excuse me, what is the purpose of this process? For critical calls or for any type of call that we think after the call is over that we could have done better. We have a debrief or after action debrief. There's many different names for it. But we sit down as a group or sit down as a crew as a shift and talk with the battalion chief, talk with the lieutenants and hey, what can we do better? I think in this specific scenario, we could have done this better. Types of talks and just talking it out, talking it through, whether it be a critical call, if it is a critical call, just talking that out and hey, you know, we did what we could or what can we do better next time? So the worst doesn't happen. But the purpose behind it is to get your brain thinking, to get your brain processing it, because there's sometimes where we just don't have the time to process it. So it is always very important for you to process those calls so you don't have long lasting effects."
A challenging situation we faced was a shooting of four teens. We had to deal with the emotional situation and handle it appropriately. Transcript: "Hi, the question I have right now is, can you give an example of a particularly challenging, high risk or emotional situation your team has faced and how you responded on it? Well, one challenge call that we did have was a shooting of multiple teens. There were four teens, we're trying to hold up a guy and they fooled with the wrong guy because when they approached him, they didn't realize that he was armed as they were. And when he pulled his gun out and started firing, he shot all four of them. So now we're dealing with a particular emotional situation with four teenagers that are shot and we have to deal with this particular incident."
I wish I had more knowledge on the importance of heart rate variability and how it affects recovery, aging, and performance. Understanding polyvagal theory and how to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems is key for understanding how to increase one without sacrificing the other. Rest and mindfulness are important for increasing HRV and improving overall wellbeing. Transcript: "I think heart rate variability is so absolutely incredibly important and understanding the importance of heart rate variability and how it impacts our recovery, how it impacts our aging process, how it impacts our ability to take on more. So if there was something that I wish that I had more training on and more knowledge on it would be just understanding polyvagal theory, understanding how sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system have this like tug of war and how to increase one you have to increase the other. So many of us kind of just run ourselves ragged and we're afraid to rest and we just don't realize how important rest is. So definitely if there was an aspect of personal wellness I had more information and more training on it would be the importance of heart rate variability and why it's important not just hey spend more time in recovery, spend more time practicing mindfulness and sleeping, but why those things will actually make you perform better when need be."
Being flexible and taking time to stretch before jumping into a workout is important, especially as we age. I have recently incorporated ROMWod into my routine to help improve flexibility and prevent injuries. Transcript: "Being flexible, taking time to stretch, knowing what to stretch, how long to stretch, the importance of it, you know, understanding before jumping into my workout that maybe I need to take time to warm up. I have such a bad habit of just jumping in, but you know, I'm 40 now, and just in the last five years, I've really upped my stretching game by doing ROM WOD, and I've had so many injuries over the years that I wish that I had this knowledge and ability, but it's just so hard, and I really think it's hard to know, you know, how long to spend and just how to weigh that out, so definitely just improving our flexibility."
The biggest challenge is finding the balance between being yourself and continuously learning and improving. Transcript: "I don't know if I can answer this in 90 seconds. The biggest challenge is being yourself and owning who you are and having the courage to show up as you are, while also being in this career where you're constantly learning and improving yourself and knowing that nobody's perfect. We can always do better. I know the first five years of my career, I tried so hard to fit in and be one of the guys and I didn't realize I was eroding who I truly was. But I also now have learned just how important it is to be yourself, not to fit in, but to actually belong. However, the big challenge is how do you belong, bring your true authentic self to work, but also continue to learn and continue to be better every day. So that to me is definitely the biggest challenge is recognizing the importance of belonging and not focusing so hard on just fitting in."