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'It helps': Humboldt officials speak on mental heath, preparedness to Sask. fire chiefs
Published Friday, April 5, 2019 6:08PM CST
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2019 6:28PM CST
Both Humboldt’s Fire Chief and City Manager spoke at a conference of Saskatchewan’s fire chief’s on Friday, just shy of the one year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos Bus Tragedy.
"This is something that you can't do a mock for,” Chief of the Humboldt Fire Department Mike Kwasnica said. “It's something that you can't plan for.”
The presentation focused on the community response and recovery, following the crash that claimed 16 lives.
The two officials spoke about their dealings with crowd control, the intense media coverage and how the community is doing in the wake of the crash.
They also spoke about mental health, not just of the officials and first responders, but of the general public in Humboldt.
“We brought in people from the mental health side that could advise us with how to deal with the public that was grieving,” City Manager of Humboldt Joe Day, said. “And how to deal with the media that was going to be needing answers and information,”
The fire chief said it helps him to be able to talk about the crash, and give other fire chiefs an idea of what to do in an scenario like the Humboldt broncos collision.
They hope no other community ever has to go through anything similar.
"We're all one big family, that's one thing with the fire service in Saskatchewan, we always emphasize that family is key and everybody looks after each other. We have each other's backs." Kevin Eskra, President of the Sask. Association of Fire Chiefs said,
Patty Stewart McCord, a crisis response specialist, said different people handle the one year mark in different ways depending on their experiences.
"It's the end of the firsts,” she said. “The first holiday without people, the first calls after things like this have happened, and a year of getting back to your regular routine as emergency responders. So for those people as well, this has significance to them and to some it's very powerful."
The presentation ended on a note that the community of Humboldt is now looking for a return to normal.
It was met by a standing ovation from the numerous fire chiefs in the room.
Based on a report by CTV Regina's Cole Davenport.