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Stories about kids, guns and how to stop the violence. Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a 2-year, 100-part weekly radio series about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. The series applies a public health lens to each story to help listeners understand the full scope of the problem: who are the victims and the shooters; how are the weapons obtained; and what can we change about the environment that contributes to violence in Milwaukee?

#026 Precious Lives: First Responders To Trauma Need Coping Mechanisms Too

When watching the nightly news coverage of various shootings and violence in the city, it’s easy to separate yourself from the drama on the TV screen. For Lieutenant Jamaal Perry of the Milwaukee Fire Department, there is no separation because he’s the paramedic on the scene for the worst of the city’s violence.

"You arrive on scene there’s a lot of chaos and you kind of focus on the task that you’re there for. Cause you don’t have time to really think or feel you just only have time to do. Talking to you now, I don't want to try to recall every little detail because that's the stuff that haunts you, that's the stuff that give you nightmares," Perry says.

The Milwaukee Fire Department worries about the cumulative impact of stress caused by responding to traumatic scenes. Over the past few years, they’ve ramped up mental health support by turning to mental health professionals to train firefighters in group crisis management.

Corresponding Content:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Tending to victims of city's violence is paramedic's job

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