Kamloops area first responders are receiving training this weekend on how to overcome the emotional impacts of dealing with disasters like floods and wildfires.
The training is being provided by the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Community Wellness Team at United Way Kamloops.
RCMP, paramedics, social workers and non-profit organizations are learning about so-called psychosocial first-aid – which according to volunteer instructor Andrew Day, is largely about self-care.
“Often first responders can’t get away from a situation because they’re working in their own communities” he says. “People can be very focused on dealing with the property damage, dealing with insurance issues but sometimes we have to remember: how do we keep ourselves mentally balanced and strong and how do we help do that for the people around us.”
Day has personal experience working in disaster zones. He was deployed to the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray.
“The absolute scale of a disaster like that and the impact it has on not just residents and first responders who are often living among these communities as well is just immense.”
He says some of the training focuses on small things that seem obvious, but get forgotten in a high stress environment.
“Things like getting enough sleep, getting proper hydration, or knowing to look out for one another as human beings.”
Day says the idea of the course is to give people the tools to be proactively mentally resilient.