Petition to help emergency workers

Group seeks to have clause added to WorkSafe BC and other legislation recognizing mental health risks to emergency responders.

Working on the front lines of emergency service, as a paramedic, firefighter, police officer, first responder or dispatcher, is inherently a stressful job.

Don Devine, a retired paramedic who now lives in Scotch Creek, is part of an effort that wants to have this notion recognized in legislation, so that frontline emergency workers can have easier access to treatment and counselling to deal with the stresses from their work, be it paid or volunteer.

The group is petitioning for a “presumptive clause” to be added to WorkSafe BC and other legislation. This means that it is automatically presumed that a person with this type of job is at risk for mental health problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and can access treatment immediately, rather than having to prove their claim is legitimate.

“Even though things have improved, we want more protections for people who have a mental health injury. With jobs like these, it can be one traumatic event that can trigger an issue or a lot of little things that can get you, but the results can be the same – depression, withdrawal, anger, exhaustion,” says Devine. “These are our first responders and they deserve immediate care and financial assistance, not going through a run-around of defining whether they have a legitimate claim.”

Devine worked for 32 years as a paramedic in both rural and urban areas of the province, and has his own experience with PTSD. He was routinely dealing with high stress and traumatic situations, including being one of the first responders to the scene where nine members of the Gakhal and Saran families were gunned down by the husband of Rajwar Gakhal in Vernon on April 5, 1996.

“People were hiding,  no one knew where the shooter was, it was chaos… As a first responder you learn to put away your emotions and keep them in a bucket inside you, but one day my bucket overflowed,” said Devine.

Devine and others involved in the cause have also garnered some significant support. On Sept. 24,  the Union of BC Municipalities passed unanimously a resolution supporting a presumptive clause for First Responders in BC.

Still in the organizational stages, Devine plans to visit malls and other public places in Chase, Sicamous, Sorrento, Salmon Arm and Vernon with copies of the petition, and hopes that when people see him, they will add their names to the effort.

You can learn more about the issue and the petition at:  www.youarenotaloneptsdbc.ca.

 

Just Posted

Houseboat company sues province, Sicamous over 2012 flooding

Sixty-day trial now underway in BC Supreme Court in Kelowna

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Sicamous senior falls victim to timeshare scam, loses thousands

RCMP warn of common phone-fraud technique employed

Truck burns on Trans-Canada Highway near Chase

Trailer ignites, creating smoke seen in neighbouring community

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Kelowna General Hospital receives donation towards JoeAnna’s House

Shuswap Hospital Foundation contributes $15,000 to project

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read