tragedy at Surfside and its total impact | Opinion columnists

Over the past week, many Americans have been glued to the medium of their choice and have been at the forefront of the terrible tragedy that has befallen residents of Champlain Towers South Condominiums in the small community of Surfside, Florida. Americans and many others around the world are in mourning as this tragedy involved victims of all ages, nationalities and ethnicities.

Professionals specially trained to deal with search and rescue in this type of incident came from across the state and country, as well as other countries, to assist in the recovery effort.

We have seen incidents like this happen in countries around the world as natural disasters toppled buildings and left families grieving for lost children, parents and grandparents. We have also witnessed the senseless violence of warring nations, leaving bloodshed in the wake of leaders unable to reach consensus to avoid such devastation and loss of life.

Families will have to deal with the loss of relatives and friends for many years to come, especially during the holidays when seats are empty at the table, and other times when they should be enjoying love and love. of the friendship of those who are so dear to them. There is no cure for the pain they are going to feel. Time can soften the loss, but it will always be with them.

The incident and its causes will be a source of rumor and speculation for a considerable time to come. Only a fully detailed investigation of all the evidence and contributing factors will provide us with a clear picture of what happened and how we might prevent a similar event from happening again. We owe it to all those whose lives were touched by this tragedy on that fateful day. Instinctive reactions and political postures must be put on hold, because they are useless.

Having said that, I want to talk about our need to consider the impact this has on many first responders who have worked tirelessly every day since the event. We must be aware of the effects this has on these professionals and the psychological stress it places on them. This trauma is similar to that suffered by a soldier returning from battlefields around the world. These first responders will face exposure to this terrible tragedy for years to come, as will many of these returning soldiers.

We have learned a lot about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). During WWI and WWII, it was often referred to as “shell shock”. Sometimes he was rejected out of hand, and that was unfortunate. Since then, we have learned much more about it and we approach it in a more respectful and professional manner.

I had a very short exposure at Ground Zero in New York after 9/11. We moved my employer’s workforce and vehicles to the city the day after the attacks. Most of the big manufacturers responded in the same way out of pride and patriotism when the nation was one.

The sight of those firefighters, EMS and law enforcement personnel working what they called “the pile” will always stay with me. These men did not want to leave, working tirelessly to try to recover the survivors, as well as the bodies of their comrades, from that horrible day. These memories still burn in everyone’s mind, and some still struggle with the psychological effects 20 years later.

Watching the news regarding the Surfside incident likely brings back similar memories to others. The situations that first responders typically face are inherently difficult and stressful. They are usually the first to arrive at the scene of events involving injury and loss of life. They often provide emotional and physical support to traumatized survivors. These tasks often put first responders at risk for secondary or indirect trauma. The Surfside event is on a scale that many have never experienced.

These professionals working side by side in an attempt to salvage survivors or the remains of loved ones all run the risk of collateral damage. It is therefore of vital importance that those involved receive proper guidance to deal with any issues they may be dealing with after the incident. These can include depression, distress, worry, trouble sleeping or concentrating, impaired work function, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, and even drug addiction.

In today’s world, we must learn to accept the fact that injuries can go beyond those of a physical nature and recognize that exposure to these types of events may also require healing by others. means.

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