Local first responders teaching others to handle traumatic situa - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Local first responders teaching others to handle traumatic situations

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WFXG) -

It was a span of 37 days Aiken Public Safety officer Jennifer Bickle remembers too well, when fellow officers Scotty Richardson and Sandy Rogers were shot and killed.

"It was horrible. It was gutwrenching. You know, they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place," she says. "We thought we were done and then it happened again. It was hard."

 

But she says part of what helped her through those tough times was the assistance provided by ADPS. 

Now Jennifer is learning how to provide that same assistance to others faced with similar incidents.

Michael Ford is a firefighter with North Augusta Public Safety and co-founder of Support 1, a non-profit group that trains first responders to serve as counselors to their colleagues after tragic situations during a three-day course.

"People are more willing to talk to people who are in their own field who share similar experiences and who have been there," Ford explains. "That's what we're trying to facilitate."

This course has brought officers from all over the state of South Carolina, but also some from as far West Virginia, where state troopers are dealing with a tragedy still fresh in many minds.

 

 

"August 28th, two troopers were shot in the head," says West Virginia State Police CPL Jim Mitchell. "One died on the scene. One died a week later."

 

Mitchell also serves as the chaplain for the State Police, and says he's taking the support course to take what he learns back to his home state. 

"I have picked up several things that will help in meeting the needs emotionally," he says.

 

Though it's only the first course, Ford says he hopes what they're teaching will make its way around the Palmetto State. 

"We can make sure that every department has the trained staff that they need to make sure that all their department members are taken care of," he says.

All those taking the Support 1 course were able to do so through local donations.

If you would like to learn more about Support 1, go to www.support1.org

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