Show of hands, who knows what a first responder is? Chances are you’ve met one before. First responders are the folks you call on in times of despair; the ones that show up when you don’t know who you can turn to. They arrive and take action, providing protection and a sense of hope. This is a humble group of individuals who serve the public with honor and pride, giving so much each day while never asking for anything in return. A first responder can include firefighters, paramedics, EMT, police officers, and many more. They are your neighbor, your friend, or your family member. To put it simply they are heroes without capes.
Today is National First Responder Day, a day designated by Congress in honor of all firefighters, EMS, paramedics, police, and those who arrive first on the scene of an emergency. In celebration of all first responders we’d like to introduce you to your local Tumwater Fire Department!
In addition to their dedication to our community they are involved in several outreach programs in the area, such as Coats for Kids and hosting a monthly satellite food bank. For more information about everything they do: Tumwater Firefighters and also here: Tumwater Firefighters Union.
After we dial 911, we expect a first responder to arrive promptly on the scene of an emergency and to perform their duties as needed in moments of crisis and despair. Yet few of us know that the person behind each uniform encounters many health risks associated with the job. Responding to a traumatic scene can have a significant impact on any person, and rates of post-traumatic stress in the first responder community is nearly 10x that of the general population. Depression, anxiety, severe sleep disturbance, substance abuse, and suicide are unfortunately risks associated with the line of duty. Furthermore, firefighters are challenged with additional occupational hazards and threatened by many more health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease and diseases associated with acute and chronic toxin exposure such as cancer and neurological conditions.
At Heart of Wellness we are committed to providing the best possible health care tailored to the needs of the first responder community. We are pleased to announce that a new member of our team, Dr. Michelle Kent, has made it her mission to improve the health of first responders. She is devoted to understanding the health needs of first responders and to applying the principles of root-cause medicine in order to help first responders and their families achieve optimal health even in the midst of difficult work conditions.
If you are a first responder consider scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Kent to explore your options in optimizing your health care now and going forward. Our Patient Care Coordinators can be reached at 360-570-0401.
If you know a first responder or someone who does, consider forwarding them this blog post!