Safe Call Now

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Is PTSD Overdiagnosed???

By Safe Call Now®'s Dr. Laura Brodie

National statistics report that six out of every ten males and five out of every ten females will experience a serious, traumatic event in their lives. Although the trauma may be painful to experience, not every person who goes through a trauma will develop PTSD. Statistics also say that only 7-8% of these people will develop PTSD.   That is a relatively low number in the general population. The exact statistics of how many first responders develop PTSD is not known but to compare, it is estimated that 30% of Vietnam veterans developed the disorder.  It certainly does occur and is painful and devastating when it does occur but there is also a phenomena that occurs where people simply assume that since the individual has been through a trauma, then they have PTSD.

Working in the mental health field and teaching doctoral students I see this a lot. Because there is a trauma, the therapist simply assumes that all of the problems the individual is having are due to that trauma and they slap the diagnosis of PTSD onto the person. This is wrong and harmful. None of an individual’s psychological issues are caused by one defining moment. Individuals are much more nuanced and multifaceted to have every problem come from one source. It may make the individual feel better initially to believe that if they simply solve the one problem they will be “fixed” but it is a naïve belief and they are soon letdown when not everything is fixed. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Using Red Folder Every Day...

Red Folder at the ready...

I’ve been talking with Christopher Burgess, the co-founder of Red Folder. He created this product as a direct result of his 30+ years in service to our nation. I was curious about how a member like me could get started with Red Folder and how easy it is to use.

Two things occurred to me as we continued our conversation. Number one is that Red Folder could have really helped me during my darkest times. As first responders we are trained to react quickly to some very intense situations, but taking proactive steps to organize the simple details of everyday life—this can be a challenge! I know it is for me and I’m certain it is for many in our community that need help. The reality is that our lives as first responders are incredibly stressful. Budgets get decreased daily, but overtime continues. We never know when we’ll need to access an critical account number, or medical identity…but chances are when we need to access it—we’ll be busy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Bully Behind the Badge"

By Dr. Olivia Johnson - Blue Wall Institute

The isolation of a job in corrections can leave many feeling out of sight and out of mind. And being out of sight and out of mind tends to allow certain things to go unaddressed. A general consensus I have noticed when talking with CO’s has been that they believe no one cares about their wellbeing and that workplace bullying and bad behavior is at an all time high. Just listening to these stories is enough to make you cry, but I have to ask: What is wrong with us that we have become so cold as to not care about a fellow officer? When did backstabbing, gossip, and all around bad behavior in the workplace become acceptable? Of course perception and reality may be two different things, but if so many CO’s are feeling this way, doesn’t that say something? If it doesn’t, it should.

Anyone accepting a position in corrections understands the threat of the criminal element, the idea that they could be injured or even killed by an inmate. That is reality. And no matter how sad this reality, what is often difficult for many CO’s to understand is how a co-worker, supervisor, or administrator could deliberately and sometimes, even with malice attack them verbally or mess with them just because they can. Sadly, many of these problematic individuals are able to continue this bad behavior without being addressed, disciplined, or terminated.  Call them what you want, but I call these individuals ‘workplace bullies.’ 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Calling All #1stresponders...

By Ron Jones - Safe Call Now® Vice President & Peer Advocate Coordinator

Calling all first responders. We hear it all the time; take care of yourself, be safe, stay alert. Generally speaking we are reactive in our professions. Responding to calls for service, disasters, critical incidents, active shooter, the list is endless. But who takes care of us; the ones on the front lines, those who are retired, the ones who have life altering disabilities, and even worse, the forgotten? We should look after each other, don’t wait on the department, or the municipal, county, state, or federal government. You will certainly be disappointed if you do. So you may ask, what then?  

Safe Call Now® always has room for motivated volunteers who have a background in the public safety arena and a passion for helping. In all of our professions we are expected to serve and we should but who better to look after a brother or sister than someone who has been there, who gets it, who has the same shared life experience. At Safe Call Now® that is exactly what you will find. We exist to help you and your family, BUT, we can’t do it alone.
What does it cost to be a part of this life saving organization, what are we asking you to donate; yourself, your time, your ability to calm others and offer assistance when needed as only another peer can do. We provide the training, we expect nothing monetarily in return, we need you! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Freedom Is Not Free...

A Memorial Day Tribute - Poem by Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

National Police Week... My Experience

Safe Call Now®'s Captain Brian Nanavaty - Destination Zero Award Winner

Police Week is an impactful time for our friends in law enforcement. Each year in May officers from all over the world travel to Washington DC to honor fellow fallen peace officers. Over 20,000 of our brothers and sisters are recognized on the wall in Judiciary Square and during the candlelight vigil for having made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend their communities. It is a somber and reflective time for all of us in public safety but it is also a time to honor our heroes and act to ensure that every officer’s life has value and that we will do everything in our power to protect those who protect us.

During police week our own Safe Call Now® Director of Curriculum and Training, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Captain Brian Nanavaty and his agency were honored for their efforts to help our law enforcement heroes with the 2015 Destination Zero Valor Award forOfficer Wellness.  The Destination Zero Project serves to acknowledge effective safety and wellness initiatives that help drive down the risk factors that are proven to lead to officer injuries and deaths. From all of us at Safe Call Now®, Congratulations Captain Nanavaty!

The Destination Zero Project is a cooperative effort between the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). For more information on the NLEOMF and the Destination Zero Project click here. 

It was my honor to document the week in pictures.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Helping You Keep it all Straight...

Red Folder

I enjoyed my conversation with Aegis Identity Group recently. I know that today life is busy for all of us.  For me when it comes to my personal passwords, login names, location of important information that I tend to keep it on scraps of paper around the house.  Sometimes I can't remember where I hid my passwords.  The product, Red Folder makes so much sense to me. For less than .25 per day I can keep literally everything in one place, protected, secure and assigned a designee in case I am unavailable for any reason.

Think about the course of one week. All social networks, your Instagram password, your Facebook user ID. All banking and credit card information. Each and every medical, dental, psychiatric, ophthalmologist and therapeutic contact information…the health insurance number associated with each account. All of the pharmaceutical information including the time of day to take each medication.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Firefighters Wish...

By Captain Willie Wines Jr. - Wooden Ladders & Iron Firemen

You know the old saying “sh%# in one hand, wish in the other and see which one fills up first”? Well, that’s what today’s post is about… my wishes.


I WISH the job cared as much about me as I do it.

I WISH I had the same passion and desire as I did in the 90’s.

I WISH I had put as much time into my family as I did the job.

I WISH I had been a better father and husband.

I WISH I had listened more to the advice I was given.

I WISH I had of went right instead of left at Hurt Park.

I WISH I could leave the job on the job.

I WISH I could sleep through the night.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Who takes care of the caretakers??? #1stresponders & Debilitating Trauma

By Safe Call Now®'s Dr. Laura Brodie

As I work in treatment with individuals who have a reaction to trauma that is debilitating, I have found that there is a core issue that appears to be evident in many of these individuals.  That is the issue of a poor or absent support system prior to the trauma.  Many who I see afflicted with trauma worked as the strong support system for others prior to their emotional damage. They report to me that they received little comfort from leaning on others for support. They were seen as strong and capable so others assumed they could handle anything. Giving guidance, support and help to others comes so naturally to these people, but being the person in need is many times the greatest fear. Why?

People who are caretakers in the world do not take kindly to being taken care of. This comes from a sense of identity that formed quite early in life where giving was much more comfortable than receiving. Being the low maintenance child was the role in the family and wanting to make parents proud, because little problems and keeping anxieties secret were the M.O. 

Many times these people are high achievers who are the ones others turn to for support. What is not realized is caretaking becomes a great skill for caring for the other, but caretaking of the self is a very foreign concept. Not wanting to be an emotional burden is a feeling that developed early in life and as an adult it becomes the attitude of “I’m fine” even when he or she knows things are not fine at all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

#1stresponder Self-Leadership Tip... Health & Fitness

By Safe Call Now®'s Steve Gutzler

One of the most valuable principles of self-leadership is physical self-care. In the past, I under-appreciated the impact my choices in food consumption, drinking water, and exercise impacted how I showed up day-to-day. Now it is one of my daily disciplines. 
Here are the three most valuable benefits of regular exercise and good nutrition: 
  • Energy replacement - When I work out I actually gain more energy
  • Stress reduction - It has become the #1 stress management tool in my arsenal
  • Immune system builder - A healthy lifestyle has allowed me to stay strong in the face of a rigorous  schedule 
Last Fall, my coaching clients and I embarked on a 21 Day Challenge inspired by the Daniel Plan,  written by Rick Warren, and I'd like to share some of the science behind the challenge with you. 

There are four key hormones the drive brain chemistry and control our appetite and metabolism. If you get these hormones under control, all the rest often resets automatically: 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4 Steps to Help a Mentally Distressed Firefighter

By Mark W. Lamplugh Jr. - Solid Landings Behavioral Health

We work day after day with our fellow firefighters and know them better than anyone else. And we all know firefighters who may be struggling with personal issues.

With 20 to 30 percent of firefighters battling addiction, PTSD, depression or other mental health issues, it's time we all look at each other and offer help.

By their nature, firefighters are quick to help just about anyone. Yet, when it comes to other firefighters with mental-health issues, we are often hesitant, even paralyzed.

The main reason we hesitate to help is that we don't understand the thing we're up against or we don't know how to help. We'll sweep the problem under the rug or put our blinders on and hope it goes away.

Unfortunately, doing nothing is the worst choice. Ignoring the problem only makes matters worse. Understanding how to help is the first step in helping each other.

Here are four steps you can take to help a firefighter who is struggling with mental-health issues.

Step 1: Recognizing the problem

This first step in fixing a problem is being able to recognize that there is one. Usually, there are early signs when someone is suffering from behavioral or mental-health issues.
Subtle clues in a person's actions could call for early intervention. Knowing what to look for is the best way to start planning to help. Look out for these telltale signs.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Dramatic fluctuations or changes in eating patterns.
  • Unexplained physical symptoms.
  • Difficulty managing anger.
  • Compulsive or obsessive behaviors.
  • Chronic tiredness or lack of energy.
  • Memory problems.
  • Shunning social activity.
  • Lack of sex drive,
  • Noticeable mood swings and erratic behavior. 
To read entire article go to Fire Rescue1

Monday, May 18, 2015

#1stresponders... Where Do I Begin???

Sgt. Mark St. Hilaire - Rescue Team Wellness

I was preparing recently for this follow up article on health and wellness when I had a telephone conversation with my good friend and mentor Robert Lindsey who is known intimately by many in law enforcement as “Coach”.

I discussed my suggestions for steps a public safety professional may consider when they are restarting their own wellness plan.

When I shared with Coach a situation I encountered many years ago when I truly became SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED, Coach politely responded with his thoughts for my consideration and I am honored to share this with all of you.

Both Coach and I come from backgrounds in law enforcement in which our personal lives declined out of control with our physical health out of control at over 300+ lbs. in body weight, substance abuse and addictive behaviors and a deep spiritual decline which bordered upon total hopelessness.
Coach brought up Dr. Elisabeth Kuber-Ross’s 5 stages of the grief cycle from her book,   



Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Alcoholic #1stresponder & Interventions

Safe Call Now® Intervention Specialist - Ken Seeley

Living with an alcoholic or being close to one often means living in a spiral of despair, guilt, and anger. When a person is addicted to alcohol, they are not in control of their behavior and often act in a way that is dangerous for themselves and those around them. It is a common myth that alcoholics are just people who do not have good character, but the fact of the matter is that anyone can be the victim of addiction.

It has nothing to do with a person’s moral character. If a person is chemically addicted to behavior, they are not in control of their alcohol consumption. This can be hurtful and frustrating for those around the alcoholic, who may not understand why a person cannot quit drinking. They may feel guilt for not being able to do a better job of stopping an alcoholic from drinking, or harbor resentment towards the alcoholic for not being able to drink.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Widow's Awakening

The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund

Saviour Play about Officer Safety to Hit Centre Stage in September

On September 29th, 2000, Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service fell to his death during the investigation of a break and enter complaint. John was searching the mezzanine level of a warehouse when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling and fell nine feet into the lunchroom below. He succumbed to brain injuries later that day. He was 32. 

The call turned out to be a false alarm. There was no intruder in the building; John died protecting a premise that did not need protecting. The subsequent OH&S and police investigations revealed that according to legislation, a safety railing should have been in place. John’s death was not an “accident.” It was the result of a preventable fall at an unsafe workplace.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Take Red Folder for a Test Drive

Safe Call Now® always attempts to offer and review those services available to first responders and their family members that can help them in times of crisis.  Those that can change your life, those that will help you in times of need or just bring you peace of mind with your life.

I’ve been detailing my conversation regarding Red Folder and how it can help those people who need it most—the first responders in crisis. I encourage all of you to try it out, it is free for 30 days. You’ll be amazed at how it can help you at an unexpected moment. When you need access to a credit card number, or your medical ID card—and you just can’t find it. Maybe you are in a crisis situation and need immediate access to your water shut off valve or need to know how to light a gas furnace. Red Folder keeps every single account, online user name and password, your wills, any directions about your house or family—right at your fingertips. It is secure, organized and a total life saver. You can read our previous blog posts here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Today... Cops Make a Difference in My Life!!!

By Cade Saurage - La Hacienda Treatment Center

I had the opportunity to sit down and have a long talk with my dear friend Cade Saurage from La Hacienda who at one point in his life and through his addiction was on the other side of the law, now he helps Safe Call Now® save the lives of first responders and is very blessed to do so.

So I pull onto the highway and head down the road, see him sitting in his patrol car as I fly by going 76 in a 70 and then watch as he slowly turns his car around to get behind me. I sit up straight like I did in grade school when my teacher spotted me passing a note. The muscles in my stomach tighten as my ‘anti-cop’ conscious starts firing out the facts…….

 “I’m only going 6-miles over the speed limit. Maybe he’s not even coming for me; maybe he is just turning around. Should I exit here and see if he follows me? Shit, I can’t afford a ticket right now. I hate defensive driving. My insurance is going to go up. Here he comes. Crap. What a dick. Doesn’t he have crimes to investigate? He must be short on his ticket quota. Isn’t this entrapment?”

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

EMS Workers... How to Deal with Stress.

By Mark Lamplugh - Solid Landings Behavioral Health

The combination of stress and poor sleep hygiene or sleep deprivation (72% of EMS providers are poor sleepers) is a killer in itself. Add fast-food eating habits, and you have the reason that first responders score at the top of the list of professions with the highest incidence of heart disease.

In addition to looking out for each other in stressful conditions, EMS workers can contribute to all around strength of the responder team by adopting solid strategies for coping. Here are a few important strategies that can reduce stress and boost health at the same time, especially if practiced on a regular basis as part of a healthy, daily routine.


Exercise is a great stress burner. It doesn’t have to be hours of weight training. In fact, the air of competition that works so well in the field is best checked at the door. Other than general health benefits, two of the most prized bi-products of exercise are not strength but increased energy levels and flexibility. It doesn’t matter which of the countless exercise programs you choose, and the decision to exercise is not as onerous as one often thinks. Consider these facts, and just dive in:

  • The recommended exercise minimums are 20 – 25 minutes per session, 3 – 5 times per week
  • Choose an exercise style, time, and place that fits neatly into your schedule
  • You begin reaping the aerobic benefits of a raised heart rate after just 7 minutes of exercise
  • The best exercise regime is one you can persevere in for the long term