The support structure for the support personnel

Throughout Victoria there are hundreds of people who have been directly affected by the fires.

However all over Australia people are being effected by the pictures of people’s despair and loss, culminating in a overwhelming outpouring of grief and the need to assist these people in some way.

All over the nation in companies large and small people have been finding a way to relieve the way that they feel, by organising relief in the form of money, food and clothing donations.

People donate, and then go home feeling that they have made a contribution, and with that, they get on with their lives.

But there is another group of people that are directly effected by these disasters.

There are the men and women in the support services that help those that are in need.

For them, they do not just donate and go home. These men and women work tirelessly, and initially with good intention to get the relief to those that need it the most.

They are fueled not only by their humanity, but on by the hysteria of the public outcry and the recognition of an adoring.

But where as the general public get to go home after their good deeds, these support organisations do not, and continue to work in crisis mode, day in and day out.

They work with an intensity that is unsustainable, until ultimately one is force to question what keeps then going. Is it self indulgence, or is it the cry of an adoring public.

Today I was in a shop and saw a man in his SES uniform at 21.00 hrs. Now it is likely that he had just come off a shift and was just picking up something for his dinner, but there was something about him that was not sincere.

The uniform was new and freshly washed so he clearly had not just come from a job. I felt that he was wearing the uniform for the attention that it would receive at this time.

I felt that he had become accustomed to the attention that the uniform now draws and he adoration that the public has for it. I have no doubt that he receives free goods and services, especially now,  because of the work we assume he does with the grieving that we see on tv.

I questioned his motives for wearing that uniform in a public place on this occasion.

People also forget the partners, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends and all those that are the immediate support for those whose job it is to help those in the most need at this time.

The loved ones are the people that sit at home and worry because their partners are out from 06.00 hours to 21.00 hours, not taking the required breaks and working in extreme conditions without proper rest. They know that their partners are sacrificing their sleep which makes the fatigued and impairs their judgment.

It is their responsibility to ensure that they support those that support others. It is there job to understand the pressures that their partners may be under, but not to facilitate the destructive self neglect that is a constant potential.

It is their job to provide a safe haven away from the crisis that the face at work, and away from the ego, and adrenaline of a crisis support environment.

Coming down of the highs and fatigue of full day on the fire front is not easy, and those in the emergency service may not appreciate the fact that their home life does not respond in the same manner as their working environment, however that is the whole point. The home life can not act as an enabler to the self neglect of the emergency worker.

There are many genuine heroes wearing many uniforms doing good work at this time, but who keeps them safe, and who keeps their motivation in check.

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~ by jeditopcat on 12 February, 2009.

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