Firefighters use personal time to battle PTSD - WSMV News 4

Firefighters use personal time to battle PTSD

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Firefighters have to take personal time to deal with PTSD issues. (WSMV) Firefighters have to take personal time to deal with PTSD issues. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Frustration is mounting among Nashville firefighters.

News4 reported earlier the need for new equipment, like firetrucks and ladders, more firefighters and fire halls.

The issue is about care, or lack of it, for the men and women who respond if you call 911.

“Nashville, I think, is seeing an increase in crime, especially violent crime,” said former Nashville fire chief Buck Dozier. “Our first responders see all that. They see the blood. They see all the aspects of a bad scene. It can take a toll.”

Dozier served as Nashville’s fire chief for 6-1/2 years.

He said firefighters are forced to use their own vacation or sick time to get treatment for PTSD.

“It’s rehab. It’s a special kind of rehab and for them to be effective, for them to be rested, for them to be sharp, they have to be sharp,” said Dozier.

“It’s an on-the-job injury and it should be treated as such,” said Mark Young, Nashville Firefighters Union. “They should be allowed in line of duty time off to deal with the issue that they’re having.”

Young said the culture is changing from years past from kind of the tough-guy mentality where now more and more firefighters are coming forward when they’re suffering.

He and Dozier both worry firefighters may be deterred from taking time off for treatment, knowing they’ll literally have to pay for it.

“You want them healthy, you want them in good shape and you want them there as quick as you can get them there,” said Dozier. “One call can really disturb someone. An accumulation of calls can take care of a career.”

The Nashville Fire Department said if a firefighter tells them about an issue that they’re having, they take swift action to address it.

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