Emergency response and mental health
My friend Doug is a volunteer fire fighter on Hornby Island, and related the following tale via Google+ (reproduced here, in full, with permission).
This is the new paint job on our car. It happened after I abandoned it when responding to a backyard fire call. I abandoned it because the dude who lit the fire chased me out of his yard with an axe and threw it at me as I booked it up the road amid accusations that I killed his daughter and threats to shoot me.
When the RCMP arrived on island 2 hours later at 1am they called to say that he had wired a bunch of IEDs to the car and had them all hooked up to a battery.
The spray paint on the road says ‘Satan’ with an arrow pointing to my car and ‘god’ with an arrow pointing to his house. The black streak on the road is where, in a throwback to the roadrunner cartoons, he dribbled a trail of gasoline back to the safety of his driveway.
Doug followed this with the following comment
…I’m taking the car into town this morning to get the insurance claim started and to get a critical incident stress debriefing with a councillor. I think I’ve rounded the corner and am 95% back to normal.
As Doug pointed out to me, this incident says a lot about how an emergency responders are called to interact with people. SAR members have related similar accounts to me about responding to suicides and drug overdoses. Sometimes the worst thing about responding to an event is the risks associated with people and mental health. The effects on the responder can be quite stressful, as this threat to Doug’s life shows.
Thanks again, Mike. Here are a few media links:
A Fox-News-worthy bit of sensationalism from CTV: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=311930
That was definitely NOT the story I wanted out. CBC radio news on Sunday AM had a much better story centered more around the mental health aspect of thing. I didn’t record that one, and I can’t find a link.
Victoria TImes Colonist had a placeholder story so they could pretend that they cover the news. http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/hornby-firefighters-attacked-with-axe-1.917387
Huffing Post Canada built a frankenstory by taking bits and pieces out of everyone else’s stuff and pasting them together: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/03/23/axe-attack-hornby-island-mental-illness_n_5018856.html
But here’s the big surprise! Metro Vancouver of all outlets called me up, asked great questions and put out an excellent story that I’m happy to link to: http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/980873/hornby-island-firefighter-responds-to-axe-attack-with-mental-health-outreach/
I’m feeling much better now and I’m really enthusiastic about turning this incident into something positive. Thanks for your support.
It’s really tragic that someone who would try to help a person in need would be treated in such a manner.