A local firefighter wants to start a conversation about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Matt Davis is the man behind “Beyond the Call,” a video that tells real life stories of London Firefighters and what they have seen over their careers.
He says he got the inspiration to do the video from encounters he’s had over his time and other people he’s known from both being a firefighter and his time spent in the military.
Davis says he got the inspiration of making it personal from a firefighter in Chicago.
“As soon as you can make it personal, that’s when firefighters tend to relate, from guys or girls who have done the job. They understand what you’ve gone through or are going through.”
Davis wanted to create this video because he feels that everyone deserves to be helped.
“Seeing them struggle and not understanding or not knowing how to deal with them. I just figured something had to happen to help better prepare and educate. Making sure we take care of each other, be aware for ourselves or our families of what can happen.”
He says that he wants to encourage everyone to have a discussion like this and that no one needs to bottle up their emotions.
“It’s okay to open up. You’re not alone. We’ve all experienced things in one way or the other. It comes to a critical point where we need to unload some of the stuff.”
He wants everyone to knows that there isn’t a wall blocking them from talking to someone.
“We’re like brothers and sisters. We bust each other’s chops all of the time but at the end of the day, when someone needs help, we’re always there.”
Davis says it’s also important to include your loved ones in this kind of discussion too.
“When you go home after a busy shift, that’s when it sometimes can be the most challenging. When you go home after a bad shift, maybe that’s when you don’t even know what you’re thinking or what you’re feeling. It creates tension at home. All of sudden, maybe you’re lacking compassion. My wife use to tell me “You’re not at the fire hall anymore. Don’t talk to me like that. This is not the fire hall. You got to switch modes here.” It creates stresses on relationships both with spouses and kids. You go home and snap at your kids over something silly and you think that’s not right. It does have an impact on your family.”
Davis wants everyone to know it’s not too late.
“Just reach out. Open up for discussion. Make sure you watch out for the guys or girls beside you because we’re impacted in different ways. As awkward as it is, start that discussion or reach out. It’s important to support each other the best we can.”
The video is a year and a half long project. It was made with the help of Fanshawe College students. It will be a tool for the London Fire Department to use at training sessions. It’s also been made public for other fire departments or anyone to use to help start the discussion.
You can watch “Beyond the Call” below: