St. Thomas mother Cindy Devine, 35, died in a fiery crash on Friday, and for those who responded to the scene it has been a difficult time as they try to process what they saw.
London firefighters knew as they approached the crash scene on Highbury Avenue this was a call that would be difficult.
“As they topped the hill coming through Highbury they noticed the car was already on fire, they could see the smoke from some distance away,” said Richard Hayes, Deputy Chief.
Hayes says while firefighters receive training and have programs available to deal with post-traumatic stress, it’s still important to take it seriously and seek help if needed.
“Dealing with these traumatic events, while we may do it regularly, there could be that one event that seems to tip the scale.”
Which is why the Fire Department says it keeps updating it’s procedures to deal with stress and PTSD
“As people are finding out more and more about occupational stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we want to make sure we are providing the best care for those that serve the community,” said Hayes.
For the eyewitnesses of Friday’s event, who may be still coming to terms with what they saw, Victim Services Elgin says they should talk to someone.
“The biggest thing is just holding it in, a lot of people don’t want to talk and share their experience, so I think just being able to talk about it to someone they feel comfortable with,” said Natalie Redman with Victim Services.
Victim Services is available in Elgin, and Middlesex - London, and can be a first step to getting help after a traumatic experience.
“A lot of people don’t know what is available out in the community. So we’re there as that stepping stone to vent first and let us know what they are experience, and what they are feeling,” she said.
Redman says they can then put people in touch with services in the community to help work through the trauma.