It seems that every year there is a reason that Firefighters go from Hero to Zero.
It could be that they said something wrong, didn’t save someone in time, made a miscomment in public or did something in their personal life.
But no matter the reason, Firefighters have to ultimately deal with the fallout of public perception, support and funding.
And when the smoke clears, and the media and social media have moved onto new victims, its our Fire Departments, all across the nation, that are left with less credibility and more responsibility.
Thankfully, there’s some things we can do when the world is against our Firefighter, and we can trust that this is part of the peaks and valleys in this Fire Life.
You do not have to choose a side. You can be a bridge.
1.Take a break and love
Get off social media for one. There is so little love on social media. And there is no love lost.
Make sure you Love yourself. And take time to Love on your family.
If you have it in you, Love your community. Many are misguided by talking heads and don’t know the extent of the damage their words can cause.
2.Get it out
Don’t let ANYONE rent room in your head for free! Get that shit out!
You can pray, meditate and journal. You can scream into a pillow and talk softly in the woods.
Pro Tip: Watch who you confess your problems too. Could be more trouble than it’s worth to share it with ole gossipy sally. Pick one of the options above to get it off your chest while keeping it from those who would use it against you.
Practice what you will say in situations so that you don’t become angry, quiet, or upset. No is a complete sentence.
Practice what you would say to these following questions:
What do you think about XYZ news story?
Do you think the Police should be defunded?
What would you do if this happened to you?
Your media sources that is.
It seems like everyone wants to have an opinion without facts. Please be cautious of that.
People have agendas. I have an ‘agenda’ when writing this. I want to prevent broken firefighters, broken families and firefighter suicides. The thing is, I don’t hide my agenda. Be afraid of those who do.
5.Find those people
And by those people, I mean the people that lovingly and easily support you.
Find people that want to be with you, and don’t judge you for being a fire family and sticking with your firefighter through hard times. Some people will show their true colors, and you’ll need the loyal ones to help you through these times.
This is the most important thing you can do. You can educate.
You can be a bridge.
You can listen or not listen to those people who would hurt your family and meet their violence with grace.
You can listen to firefighters and cops and medics who are struggling to protect the people they swore to protect who hate them.
Most Importantly, you can know that Firefighters (and first responders) have the “last laugh”. Why? Because they are essential and needed parts of the community. They are valuable and they promote safety.
They will need to change and improve and make themselves better and learn from their mistakes- and hopefully the public can do the same thing so that we can come together again in peace.
Keep your head up- there are people that want to see the world burn (literally) and will do and say mean things to Firefighters, their families, and the thin line family.
Support yourself, have grace on those that would use you, and remember that this life is the only one you have. Don’t waste it on trolls.