Category Archives: 9-11

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision. To all my readers, I hope to improve your lives, at least in some small way. If you are reading this, then I think you might hope for that too. Trust me when I say, it isn’t something I take lightly.

As members of the public safety profession, we took a job that can be physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally demanding. September 11th continues to show us that seventeen years later. We are still loosing people from events that happened that day. For those that follow ODMP or the USFA we still see Line of Duty deaths tied to that date. That date still also continues to have emotional ramifications for us.

So what are we to do? You know as well as I do, we are never going to outrun tragedy. It will find us, and when it does, how will we make it to the “other side” or to the “new normal” that we tell people about? I think a key in doing that is something I heard in a training class I attended a few years back. OPOTA hosted an Active Shooter Introduction session. One line the instructor said that stuck with me was this: “You have to train your mind to go where your body may one day need to go.” While he was taking about response, I think it is a principle that applies to a lot of our lives.

We may not know when or what degree tragedy will visit us. What we know is it WILL visit us, and we owe it to ourselves, our families and the people we love to be ready for that day. What are some ways to do that? Here are a few (and yes, some we have heard before!) that can help us prepare.

1) Get sufficient rest. (Yes, go ahead and roll your eyes). This bit of advise is almost like people telling us to “eat your vegetables” or “get regular exercise” (Spoiler alert, also on the list), but it is definitely true. If you are deprived of sleep, your mind is not as sharp, our decisions are slower and not as well designed. There is even information from the National Institute of Heath that “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” 1

2) Work on better eating habits. This is one of the things that I need work on too. It goes beyond the getting and staying physically healthy. Also notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable.

3) Work on better exercise habits. Again, notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable. And this is beyond working out. There are countless benefits of activity that gives us oxygen and helps us ward off stress.

4) Train. I had an instructor say that “No one gets smarter under stress.” We all know people who have done something and we ask (or think) “Why in the world did you do THAT?” This also goes beyond our job functions. Do we have a family emergency plan in place? If we do, does it work? If my wife can not reach me, does she know who to call?  If we are out in public and tragedy decides to pay us a visit, does our family know what to do?

5) Take a vacation. This does not have to be elaborate, productive or cost a lot. Rest, relax, re-focus, and spend time with family and friends…where work can not find us. Maybe it’s at the lake, the beach, fishing in Colorado, at a cabin in the woods or a long hiking trail. Just go. Sometimes you have to take a break to “Sharpen the saw”.  2

6) Get/Keep affairs in order. This one may not be near as fun as the vacation, but still as important. Updated wills, information on life insurance policy, department funeral policies, benefit information, etc are all very important things to have available BEFORE bad happens. Who calls your job if something happens off duty, and who do they call? Don’t make your loved ones guess.

7) Give affirmation to people every chance you get.

That’s just a few thoughts. And maybe this can be somewhat interactive. Are you doing things that work well for you? Share that information! Tell your friends, (even let me know via email or you can also put comments on my blog under this topic).

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Notes:

1 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
2 https://www.livingontherealworld.org/habit-7-sharpen-the-saw/

 

 

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

 

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2014

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say another thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

As I write this, Patriot Day is two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 70 officers of the NYPD and PAPD, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave their lives that day and over 75 more since then due to “9/11 related illness”.

From time to time we all battle the “us versus them” feeling. Sometimes it’s when a shooting makes the national news. Sometimes it’s when we are trying to get enough funding to ensure we can operate safely and provide the best service we can. Sometimes, you just have a long day and wonder “does it really matter?” And that’s just the external weights that come with the job. I read an article by a nurse and thought an excerpt really applies here:

But I’m not alone. And it’s the people by my side that make me feel normal about this chaos that we live in. This peephole into reality, that only a few of us see… What choice do we have? This is our job. This is our life. Even if we quit it, it’s too late. Once you peep through that hole, you can’t pretend you haven’t seen it.

As Public Safety personnel, that is who we are. We battle the evil, we take the fight to the darkness, we stop destruction and we stop the bleeding. When I first started this in 2008, I thought the reason that you are awesome was because you battle the evil. But now I see, the battle is not what makes you awesome. What makes you awesome is that you get up, and do it. You help others fight the same fight. You share with others the tools you have. You go home, get rest and then you get up, and do it all again. You are the person by someone’s side, helping them feel normal in the midst of chaos. I’ve seen as you help that 90-year-old woman who never had an accident process what just happened. I’ve listened to how you feel about all the “politics”. I’ve been in the car weaving in and out of traffic so you can get there to save someone. I’ve seen how you keep that elderly person with dementia calm while we wait for medics to take her to the hospital. I’ve seen how you bandage the kid who was just the victim of the hit and run and tell him he is going to be OK and tell his parents that you “will find the person who did this.” You’ve stopped to make sure that Doc here is up to speed and is not in the dark.

So you may feel like you’re in a war. You may feel tired, or unimportant, or like giving up. I Just ask that you keep on going. You do more good that you realize and it matters to more people than you think. Really.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and contact me if I can help you.

I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2013

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

As I write this, Patriot Day is two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 70 officers of the NYPD and PAPD, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave their lives that day and over 50 more since then due to “9/11 related illness”.

It’s during these times that we ask ourselves a question like “What do we do to honor their sacrifice?” One of the 343 was a Chaplain, Mychael Judge. Sometimes I ask myself the same question, although maybe not in those same words. When I put on my uniform I may take a second glance to make sure it looks like it should. I do what is needed and I behave in a manor to not bring shame on my position, or tarnish that honor. That looks a little different for everyone of us. When you lace up your boots and get in that engine or cruiser, I’m sure you do the same thing.

But don’t think that means we don’t have “bad days”. We all have bad days from time to time, even us Chaplains. So what we do with our “bad days” determines if we bring honor to our professions or if we tarnish them. It also determines if our “bad day” becomes a “bad year” or a “bad life”. So what do we do? I understand that your life may be complicated. As everyone travels the road through life, we have to deal with money issues, family issues, hospitalizations and death of family members. So how do we keep ourselves going? Here are a few ideas.

1. Take time for yourself. I know I say it a lot. You have to do something for you that makes you happy. Whatever it is – hunt, fish, go to the beach, go to the mall, go to a religious service. Do something for YOU.

2. Remember, anything can change. If you are going through a tough time, it can change. Things change. People change. We change.

3. Reach out. Find someone you can trust and talk to them. Supervisors, clergy, co-workers, doctors, chaplains… somebody.

4. Share your story. This might be hard for some of us. If you managed to fight your way out of a dark time in your life, others may need to hear it. If you had a “critical incident” and you came back happy, then someone else will need that. It will help someone else, but it will also help you to remember it. Life threw it’s worst at you and you came out on top. You won. Be proud of that. I’ll end this point with one of my favorite stories from “The West Wing”. “This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'” Someone needs you. Let them find you.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and contact me if I can help you.

I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2012

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

Greetings to you as we head toward September 11th. The day we stop our normal routine to remember those who lost their lives in the attacks that horrible day. Among the 3000 people that lost their lives that day, we take special note of 343 firefighters and the 72 officers that laid their lives on the line for the safety of the people they served. Since then over 50 people have died from illness caused by working at “Ground Zero”.

As I write this, line of duty deaths are down (70 for Law Enforcement and 55 in the Fire Service), and we have a fighting chance to be under 100 for both groups. That also is good news.

Perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in TV is that of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus (played by Michael Conrad) on Hill Street Blues saying “Hey, let’s be careful out there.” So my note today will hopefully cause you to think what that means to you. I’ve been in numerous departments serving different types of communities. Urban, rural, paid, volunteer and departments that serve as both police officers and fire fighters. So “careful” will mean different things to you depending on a lot of factors. I am by no means an expert, or trained to be either, but I have received some tips and pointers along the way. Take and use any of these in any way you can.

– Wear seat belts.
– Have a first aid kit in your car. If they are not supplied by your department, take the money and time to build one.
– Wearing your protective gear (vests, fire suits, etc.)
– Drive at a safe and reasonable speed. Are the seconds worth the risk?
– Training is different for agencies depending on a variety of factors. Do you take advantage of the training available? Do you view materials like the “Below 100” campaign for LEO’s or the various fire safety articles for you firefighters out there?
– Always wear protective gloves when doing first aid and when dealing with blood.
– Review Line of Duty deaths and major incidents to see if there is something you can take away from the situation. What could YOU do differently to see a better outcome?
– Review the hazards in your local area. What could go wrong and are you ready?
– Never under estimate mother nature. Growing up in Kentucky and living in Ohio, I always thought a hurricane would never be something to worry about. That was until the “remnants” of Hurricane Ike took my power for four days.
– Contact other departments who have faced weather or situations that you have not. I’m sure they would be willing to share their lessons learned. Collaboration is our ally.

Those are just a few. There are numerous websites that give tips to any department on how to be “safe out there”.

In closing, I hope I could bring you some encouragement and some food for thought. Doc thinks of you often and appreciates you more than you know.

I’ve said it before and will say it until I take my last breath, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough. Thank you for all that you do.

September 11th – 10 years later.

There are numerous thoughts swirling through my mind as I write this. It’s been ten years since the day. I was working at Lexis-Nexis at the time. We watched it all from our training room. Horror, fear, panic, sadness, and grief unexplainable…all at once. That evening I spent time with a wonderful woman who would later become my sweet wife.

People I call friends today would go to Ground Zero and help with the search and clean up. Ohio Task Force One went on their first mission. Among my friends, Chief Scott Hall was there. I knew none of those fine heroes then, but I have the privilege of knowing some of them today.

I remember being moved to tears by other pictures, at the time not even knowing why. People cheering and saluting the NYPD and FDNY as they drove by. The image of the exhausted firefighter surrounded by angels (and the snow version that winter). Those and so many others moved me. In 2008, I would figure out why.

In 2008, during one of the moments of silence, there was one for the last firefighter found alive. At that moment, a chain of events occurred that changed my life, and continues to do so even to this day. During that moment, a gratitude for our law enforcement and fire crews really “came to life” so to speak. That evening I called the Huber Heights Police and asked the dispatcher if she could let the officers and fire fighters know my appreciation for them. I was informed that they had not had that request in over 14 years. So that’s when I decided that I would reach as many as I could and let them know they are cared about. Since then I’ve talked (in person and via email) to officer sand firefighters from all over the country.

Today I read the story of Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain of the New York Fire Department. He actually entered the towers that morning. Why? Because his guys were in there. And when commanders gave orders to evacuate the building, he refused to abandon the hundreds of firefighters still trapped inside saying, “My work here is not finished.”

“Fidelis Ad Mortem” – “Faithful Unto Death”. That’s what he was. Faithful unto death. One day I will get that badge with the word “Chaplain” on it. That’s where I’m headed. And when I do, I hope to be as faithful to “my guys” as he was to his. Fidelis Ad Mortem.

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2011

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

Greetings to you as we head toward September 11th. Soon we will mark the tenth anniversary of one of the darkest days in our Nation’s history. As a Nation, we watched in horror as our feelings of safety and security were shattered. We felt hopeless to help. But some did. Firefighters and Officers suited up, looked at the outcome of evil, and did what they had to do. 412 heroes gave their lives that day. In the ten years since then numerous others have died with a 9/11 related illness. A line that I have quoted before describes them well. “All these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.”

Many of you reading this note were doing your job that day. While you may have been hundreds of miles away, the sting you felt was something you may never forget. You too look at evil’s outcome each day you prepare for work. In each of my emails, I always hope to let you know that there are people who not only support you, but care about you and your safety. There are people who stand up for your rights, even in the face of what can be a negative public perception at times. And sometimes I also want to give you something to think about.

Safety. YOUR safety. It is said that “forewarned is forearmed”. Advance warning provides an advantage. Sometimes, you need all the advantage you can get.

– Everyone knows about wearing seat belts. Do you always wear them?

– Wearing your protective gear (vests, fire suits, etc.) Do you wear them every time?

– A topic that was recently covered at lawofficer.com was driving at a safe speed when responding to a call. Do we always keep that in mind?

– Training is different for agencies depending on a variety of factors. Do you take advantage of the training available? Do you view materials like the “Below 100” campaign for LEO’s or the various fire safety articles for you firefighters out there?

– Protective gloves. Do you wear them when doing first aid and when dealing with blood?

– Line of Duty deaths happen for various reason, at various times, with numerous factors. Do you review them to see if there is something you can take away from the situation? What was the cause and what could YOU do differently to see a better outcome?

Never forget that you are appreciated. Never forget that you are looked up to by countless people. Never forget that every time you put on that uniform, you are making a difference to someone.

I’ve said it before and will say it until I take my last breath, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough. Thank you for all that you do.

If the vision for your life is not intimidating to you, it is insulting to God.

“If the vision for your life is not intimidating to you, it is insulting to God.” – Steven Furtick

Pastor Dennis Durig challenged my thinking with this quote this morning. It also gives me some comfort when I think about the scope of my vision. How may times do we KNOW what God has given us, and look at it and think “There’s NO way I can do this. It’s just too big.” Maybe it’s supposed to be. If you could do it all by yourself, would you need God? Will it be hard? Likely. Will it stretch you? Certainly. Will is stretch your faith? Hopefully.

Everyday that I look around me, His plan for me becomes clearer. I feel their pain. I hear their voices. I sense their frustration. And if you know me at all, you know who I’m talking about. I want to make my mark. I want them to know that I care, not because I need it, but because they do. Like Pastor Pat said, “We’ve got to go out there and make a mark on our promised land. If you don’t make your mark on it, it will make it’s mark on you.” I really feel that God pointed to firefighters and cops and said to me , “That’s why you’re here.” It’s a daunting task with over 800 police and 1000 fire departments across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. And I want to provide encouragement and appreciation to as many as I can.

Exciting days are ahead. Challenging? Probably. Testing? Maybe. Rewarding? No doubt!

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:(Philippians 1:6)

Greatness is only awakened when greatness is required. – Pastor Pat.