First Responder Resources

"You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself, first." ~ Anon

STEPS TO STAY HEALTHY AND ALERT

Plan meals and make healthy eating choices, and stop eating high-calorie fast food.
Plan vacation and downtime.
See your doctor regularly for checkups.
Share the workload and reduce the amount of overtime.
Live within your means so that “moonlighting” that second job is not necessary.
Create a realistic exercise program and form healthy habits.
Create a “Patrol Buddy” program and make time to check on each other.
Keep your civilian friends and get away from the job (no shop talk on downtime).

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Screening >>>

MANAGEMENT OF WORKLOAD
Task priority levels set with a realistic work plan
Existing workload delegated so workers not attempting disaster response and usual job


BALANCED LIFESTYLE
Physical exercise and muscle stretching when possible
Nutritional eating, avoiding excessive junk food, caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco
Adequate sleep and rest, especially on longer assignments
Contact and connection maintained with primary social supports


STRESS REDUCTION STRATEGIES
Reducing physical tension by taking deep breaths, calming self through meditation, walking mindfully
Using time off for exercise, reading, listening to music, taking a bath, talking to family, getting a special meal-to recharge batteries
Talking about emotions and reactions with coworkers during appropriate times

SELF-AWARENESS
Early warning signs for stress reactions recognized and heeded
Acceptance that one may not be able to self-assess problematic stress reactions
Over identification with survivors'/victims' grief and trauma may result in avoiding discussing painful material
Understanding differences between professional helping relationships and friendships
Examination of personal prejudices and cultural stereotypes
Vicarious traumatization or compassion fatigue may develop
Recognition of when own disaster experience or losses interfere with effectiveness

Code 9 Project teaches police officers and their families about stress management and PTSD awareness. They travel the country to teach those who help others.