Later that morning, Emily Avin called 911 from her home in Aiken to report a suicide.
She then picked up a gun, walked outside and pulled the trigger before anyone could reach her. She was 26.
Scrolling through her daughter’s phone in the following days, Sue Ann Avin found a prophetic cartoon. It depicted an EMS worker illustrated to resemble a ticking time bomb, saying, “Traumatic calls, burn out, compassion fatigue — that stuff never gets to me.” The paramedic wore a badge that said “denial.”
Suicides such as Emily Avin’s were once overlooked by firefighters and paramedics eager to maintain an image of bravery and invincibility. But that’s changing as the profession acknowledges a deadly scourge that claims more lives than the perils firefighters face in the line of duty.
Long a taboo topic in firehouses, suicide was recently labeled by the U.S. Fire Administration as a “critical” issue that’s being “faced more squarely by the fire service.”
#Firefighter #suicides outnumber line-of-duty deaths. How S.C. first responders are trying to save their own–heartbreaking front page story #1stresponders #death #SouthCarolina #suicide https://t.co/3QzdFAR7sL
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) February 18, 2018