It’s been a tragic three weeks in Warren County with a double murder, a mother and child found dead in an apartment, and a woman found dead in a bathtub.
Warren County Safety Committee members have expressed concerns for the mental health of EMS workers.
“How’s morale out there right now,” asked Commissioner Teddy Boyd to EMS director Brian Jennings.
“I think everything is holding steady,” said Jennings. “It has been a tough couple weeks with everything going on.”
Commissioner Ron Lee asked if any provisions were in place to help the men and women in the department who might be struggling mentally with what they’ve seen.
“Just here in the last two weeks we’ve had a terrible murder and a young lady and a baby die, among others,” said Lee. “Our EMS people see bad stuff every day and then, they really see some tough stuff. Do you have anybody they can talk to?”
Staff members are reminded every year during in-service, says Jennings, there are professionals available including counselors at CHEER Mental Health who volunteer their time, as well as a number of clergy across the county who have had training to counsel people.
“All it takes is for them to come forward in confidence and ask for those types of counseling services and we can arrange that,” said Jennings.
“I just don’t want to forget our personnel,” said Lee. “I don’t want to take them for granted. We need to make sure the tough things they see that we have some kind of an outlet in place if they need to talk to somebody. I wouldn’t be ashamed to ask for it. I couldn’t do their job. God bless them for doing it.”
Boyd added, “I try to go there once or twice a week and tell them I appreciate the job they do. It has to be a love for the job because they aren’t in it for the money.”
In the first 11 days of July, the county’s new morgue, called the Warren County Temporary Morgue, received four deceased individuals.
“Everything has been temporary storage,” said Jennings. “The paperwork system that we developed has gone very well. Temporarily, when people call the morgue, it’s actually routed to me. We are going to change that and forward them to a supervisor’s phone, someone who is there on the grounds.”
Yet to be complete is paving the parking lot. That will be done when weather permits.