Emergency Service officers are regularly exposed to traumatic events, which they can repeatedly re-experience through nightmares or flashbacks. It is estimated that 10 per cent of current emergency service workers have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The first set of national guidelines for the treatment and diagnosis of PTSD in frontline emergency service workers was recently released by a group of Australian clinicians and researchers. The guidelines explore how to treat PTSD in emergency workers and reduce symptoms, as well as the best ways to ensure the person can be transitioned back to work.
To complement these initiatives, Australian Rotary Health has announced it will be co-funding with Rotary District 9675 (funding provided by RESCA), a Funding Partner PhD Scholarship for research into PTSD in emergency services.
The new ‘PTSD in Emergency Services PhD Scholarship’ will be advertised in March 2016 for commencement later in the year. Further research will look at in-depth ways workers experience PTSD and alleviate the mental health burden on our emergency services.
Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA) is helping one of the world’s most disaster-prone islands – Vanuatu
Vanuatu is prone to earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, cyclones, storm surges….and the day to day road crashes and accidents in homes, workplaces and tourist venues.
RESCA 2017 funded a Rotary Vocational Training Team (VTT), with a training professionals coming from four of our NSW rescue agencies – F+R NSW, NSW SES, VRA and NSW RFS. The VTT flew into Port Vila in August 2017 for one month of intensive vocational training, helping to build self sufficiency and interagency operability during the initial response phase following a natural disaster.
The Rotary VTT provided Promedical rescue volunteers, Promedical Paramedics, Vanuatu Military Force (VMF) firefighters, Port Vila Police wardens and Vanuatu Police Force training in:
- Introduction to Rescue
- Basic Road Crash Rescue
- Complex Road Crash Rescue
- Basic Urban Search & Rescue
- Industrial & Domestic Rescue
- Vertical Rescue
- Inland Water Rescue
- Basic Life Support
- Mental Health Awareness
- Command & Control
- Basic Training Techniques
- Incident Scene Management
- Basic Firefighting Techniques
- Firefighting Pump Operations
- Firefighting Pre-Incident Planning
- Vehicle Firefighting
RESCA 2017 also funded essential rescue equipment for Promedical Rescue to help undertake their rescue function in the Port Vila area. This included new rescue airbags and a range of ropes and hardware to undertake rescue from heights and depths.
RESCUE 2018 is again helping Port Vila with new road crash rescue stabilisation tools, head torches, inland water rescue throwbags and shipping a large enclosed trailer, donated by the NSWRFS, across to Port Vila to house a cache of Disaster Assistance Response Team equipment.
We thank our NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards Partners, NSW Emergency Service Agencies, and our many supporters who continue to make the VTT aims and objectives possible.