Safe Call Now

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Indecisive Leadership Kills #1stresponders!!!

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley

Indecisive, the ability to not make a decision.  Ahhh but there’s more included in the definition.  Putting a decision off or can’t make an effective one.  That’s important to note.  I work with many people in the public sector as well as private companies.  One thing I’ve noticed on my travels around the country are management styles of leadership.  There are incredible leaders out there and then I see managers.  People wanting to be leaders but fit the definition of indecisiveness.

Indecision or being indecisive is killing first responders and I watch it every day.  I’ve finally had enough of it.  I’ve worked for many great leaders in my career and some very poor ones.  The difference between them were that the true leaders could make decisions, they were effective decisions.  Yeah they may have had some errors in them but they were open minded enough to make changed that benefited all.  When a leader puts of a decision, seeks committee, wants meetings to go along with meetings…  You’re telling us we’re not worth much.

In today’s world of leadership it appears to me to be about covering your ass or limiting liability. When did doing the right thing go out the door?  I also scoff at the leader that tells you what you want to hear and then never follows through.  Now you’re just placating me.  I really admire many leaders out there that I meet and I know which ones they are.  I remember dealing with a Chief who was trying to help his employee in a crisis.  In the room with him was the City Attorney who was advising the Chief that he could not do what I was requesting.  The Chief stood up and said I’m doing it anyways, this is about my officer.  That people, is a leader.  The message he sent to his troops was clear and resounding.  Guess what, the officer is thriving, the department is thriving because of a strong leader.  He lets them do their jobs and supports them.

How have I seen leadership kill first responders?  A crisis arises within a department or private company.  Leadership goes into an immediate “huddle”, not for the benefit of the employee rather for the benefit of the agency.  The decision gets pushed back after multiple meetings, consultation with executive staff and attorneys.  Reviews, meetings on the reviews and enough time has passed and the first responder has killed themselves.  Unacceptable!!!

If you lead an agency or private company that deals with first responders, for God’s sake please be a leader.  Make decisions, if politics drives your decisions maybe it’s time to find another career.  When it comes to the life and death of our first responders they deserve to be lead in the direction of good health and happiness.  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Alcoholic #1stresponder

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley

A dear friend of mine always says and he’s right, “We treat our cars better than we treat our first responders in addiction who are going to die”.   When the red light comes on in our vehicles we immediately take the vehicle into the mechanic and have it assessed, evaluated and fixed.  When we’re dealing with the alcoholic or addicted first responder, the red lights come on and as a profession we will enable them to protect our partners (blind loyalty), try to fix the problems ourselves (which only a professional can do) or cast them aside and throw them away as if it is someone else’s problem (the easy way out).  The diseases of addiction and mental health when combined are two of the deadliest diseases known to mankind, yet they are the only two diseases that we allow the first responder who’s brain is incapable of making logical decisions dictate the terms of treatment.  Maybe for fear of not offending them, ending their career, who knows there are many other reasons usually associated with “The Thin Blue, Red, Green Line”.   

Ultimately I have determined that the main cause is that “It’s always been done this way in the past”.  This is why Safe Call Now exists, an organization that is willing to change the culture and thinking of an entire profession that experiences these diseases at twice the rate of the general population according to some studies and some say even higher.  Who knows?  I just know first responders are dying from it.

I want to educate you about the alcoholic and addict mind and what the first responder may be thinking and doing when they are in this situation.  I am familiar with this because I was “That guy”.  The guy who would lie to your face, smile, tell you everything is alright, convince you that everyone else is crazy, function within the work environment, control the situations, create drama within others to direct the attention away from me and convince you that I was right.  Fortunately or unfortunately I do not think like you.  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

#1stresponders... You're only worth .59 cents!!!

By Safe Call Now President & Founder Sean Riley
I've been struggling with this for a few days. #1stresponders... I found out you're worth only .59 cents, a price was finally put on your value as a human being. Let me explain. I recently was keynoting in a state that I knew had very poor access for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment benefits for their #1stresponders. I've struggled with this state for 4 years. What I didn't realize is the people who control those benefits finally put a price on your health and wellness... and it's .59 cents!!! I knew it was bad but I underestimated how bad it was!!!

The #1stresponders in this state also know that they have very poor benefits for their own health and wellness with those issues that impact their lives such as PTSD. In the other 49 states the #1stresponders for the most part have pretty good coverage. As I was listening to those in charge of the insurance premiums and people responsible for providing quality benefit services, it was brought to their attention that their level of benefits provided was beyond substandard for the #1stresponders in regards to behavioral health and substance abuse.

The response (wait for it)... "Yeah, but we saved .59 cents last year per employee on our insurance premiums, our premiums actually went down" Are you f%*king kidding me??? Did I forget to mention the number of #1stresponders that committed suicide in this state last year???  I have never been more appalled in my life.

I challenged those in charge and asked them if they hold #1stresponders to a higher standard.  They all responded in the affirmative rather quickly.  I then asked them why their healthcare benefits shouldn't also be held to a higher standard?  There was no reply, just a look of bewilderment. 

We will continue to go into this state and advocate for better benefits for those #1stresponders. What they don't realize is that the other 49 states are coming in with us because you're all worth more than .59 cents!!!