Firefighters across the city of Largo took a moment Friday night, to remember their co-workers who have taken their own lives as a result of what they experience at work.
The people who respond to calls for service are often times, exposed to all kinds of grizzly scenes. It’s can add up over time and become overwhelming.
The work they do, saves lives and property. But the job can be very stressful. “There’s things that we see that the normal public doesn’t see, unfortunately. And that can absolutely have an untoward effect on each individual” said Lt. Stephen Bailey.
In the last 5 years, 13 Pinellas county fire or EMS workers have taken their own lives. In Largo alone, 2 have committed suicide.
On Friday night, Largo fire-rescue members pulled their rigs out of the firehouse, turned on emergency lights and stood for a moment of silence to remember the people they lost.
Preventing more tragedies can be as simple as being aware. Firefighters spend a third of their lives together, so they know what’s normal. “If we notice that somebody really isn’t acting their normal self, being jovial, kind of being one of the crew members, reach out to em… Talk to em… How ya doing? What’s going on?” said Lt. Bailey.
Work-related stress, along with problems at home can add up. “We’re trained to be professionals, and when we have that job to do, we do it. We’re focused on what we have to do. We get the job done. And it’s the after effects” said Lt.Bailey.