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How first responders cope with trauma

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MISSOULA -

First responders are often the first on scene in tragic events. In the wake of the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas, we're learning how they cope with these situations.

First responders truly see it all and studies show they are susceptible to secondary trauma. It is part of their job, but that doesn't make it any easier. 

Sergeant Travis Welsh says everybody handles trauma in their own ways and luckily, their agencies do all they can to make resources available. 

A seasoned officer, Welsh says when he went through the academy nearly 27 years ago, they didn't acknowledge the effects something like "secondary trauma" had on a person. 

Now, as they learn more and more about it. they are learning ways to deal with it clinically and  emotionally.  

Both the Missoula County Sheriff's Office and Missoula City Police say a chaplain is a great resource. They can be whatever a person suffering from trauma needs them to be.

"Somebody to provide feedback if that's what an individual is looking for. They may be able to provide spiritual guidance if that's what an individual is looking for. A great resource for us to have even if it's just to vent out feelings to somebody," says Welsh.

Another thing the Missoula County Sheriff's Office does is have debriefings. It gives officers a chance to get it all out there, and process it. Sometimes the best thing to do is talk it out with people went through the same situation.

It's a tough job for officers, but one they are willing to do.

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