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 ‘PTSD in Emergency Services PhD Scholarship’ will be advertised Australia wide in February 2021 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 at risk of disaster countries – Tonga.
The Kingdom of Tonga is prone to earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, sea level rise, cyclones, storm surges, flash flooding and landslides. Tonga is rated the second most at-risk nation in the Pacific.
RESCA is funding a Rotary Vocational Training Team (VTT), focused on Emergency Disaster Management exchange with Tonga. Generally, the exchange will seek to build planning and response capacity, develop governance arrangements, build and strengthen communications between Tonga Fire & Emergency Services and its community.
The Australian team will comprise a Rotary Team Leader, 5 members of the NSW emergency services (Fire & Rescue, State Emergency Services, Volunteer Rescue Association and Rural Fire Service), and a member of South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service. The Tongan team will comprise 6 members of the Tonga Fire & Emergency Services.
We thank, in advance, our NSW Rotary Emergency Services Community Awards Partners, NSW Emergency Service Agencies, South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service, Rotary Districts 9510 and 9920; and our many supporters who continue to make the VTT aims and objectives possible.