TUCSON (KVOA) – First responders deal with traumatic situations on a regular basis. Following Sunday’s deadly shooting involving two AMR EMTs on Tucson’s south side, what happens when their job puts their own lives in danger?
News 4 Tucson went to AMR headquarters to see how they were helping their crews during this difficult time.
They say a team of specialists are on-site to help with mental health, along with a therapy dog.
Zona, seen roaming the halls of AMR headquarters, is a certified therapy dog. She helps provide comfort in crisis situations, ranging from mass causality incidents to natural disasters.
“She’s been here all day yesterday and today,” Jackie Evans, regional director of America Medical Response said. “She has free reign of the whole building and as people come in they have the opportunity to be able to play with her just sit with her.”
Zona makes her rounds, gravitating to anyone she feels may need some tender, love and care.
“She’ll actually jump up and sit with the crews,” Evans said. “Just kind of sit with her head in their lap just trying to make them feel better.”
This past weekend, two AMR EMTs were shot, one of them in life-threatening condition at Banner UMC.
“We have not taken her to the hospital. The crew members are not at a point to where we feel we can take her to the hospital,” Evans said. “If they were to ask, then we would definitely do that with the permission of Banner University.”
Peer support teams on site also offer more extensive counseling.
“We also offer here in Arizona a program called Sondermind and what that does is that does an entire evaluation of the employee and makes sure they’re connected to the right specialist,” Damon Schilling of Global Medical Response said.
Since Sunday’s shooting, a team has been working to offer these first responders resources to help with their mental health after dealing with something so horrific.
“We have the CISM Team which is the critical incident stress management team or peer support team,” Schilling said. “And they’ve been here since the incident occurred and they’re not going to go home until every single person has had the opportunity to express how they feel and there’s a comfort level of being able to return back to work.”
For more information on mental health resources, click here.