|By Author Karen Solomon|
Over the last six months I have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing over forty law enforcement officers and their families. Although not all of the interviews were geared toward critical incidents, eventually all discussions ended there. If the officers weren’t personally involved in a critical incident, they were witness to one or they knew someone who had been involved in one. Every single officer has an emotional scar as a result.
Interestingly, most of the couples and their children made it through the trauma intact. Their families aren’t fractured, their relationships are stronger, and they can now help others understand what it takes to emotionally survive a traumatic experience. As an officer, you can choose to read this, digest it and move on. I suggest you do more than that; share this with your loved ones.
To survive a traumatic on-the-job experience, you are going to need information and forethought. This will help you make a plan. I am sharing with you what I heard from the officers and their families: what they needed most, what the people around them needed and what their departments needed to provide. It’s easier than you think, and it’s something every illness or injury needs: a CURE – Communicate, Understand, React, and Educate. Four simple steps applied before and after a critical incident could change your outcome.