All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast

The Power of Restorative Rest for First Responders with Roger Sutherland

January 21, 2024 Travis McGaha / Eric Stephenson Season 2 Episode 3
The Power of Restorative Rest for First Responders with Roger Sutherland
All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast
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All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast
The Power of Restorative Rest for First Responders with Roger Sutherland
Jan 21, 2024 Season 2 Episode 3
Travis McGaha / Eric Stephenson

Discover how to transform the health and productivity of our fire service heroes with expert insights from Roger Sutherland. Our latest  Bonus All Clear Podcast episode looks into the complexities of shift work in the fire service, unraveling the intricacies of shift patterns and their profound impact on our first responders' wellbeing. Roger brings to light the urgent necessity for education, forward rotation schedules, and the strategic use of planned naps. This enlightening conversation reveals how such changes can enhance resilience among firefighters, leading to reduced absenteeism and heightened efficiency in their critical roles.

As we navigate the challenges faced by those who protect us, leadership emerges as a pivotal force in cultivating a robust workforce. Our discussion underscores the transformative power of health and wellbeing workshops, offering a beacon of hope for departments seeking to bolster morale and safeguard their team's health. The episode also shines a spotlight on the groundbreaking research in circadian rhythms and chronobiology, equipping individuals and fire service departments with knowledge to effectively manage the rigors of their demanding profession. Tune in and arm yourself with the strategies that promise to elevate our first responders from surviving to thriving.

On Friday enjoy a full episode with Roger Sutherland as he digs deeper into Chronobiology and its impacts on our careers.

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening to All Clear!

You can contact us with questions, suggestions or just to say hi at our website
allclearpodcast.com


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Discover how to transform the health and productivity of our fire service heroes with expert insights from Roger Sutherland. Our latest  Bonus All Clear Podcast episode looks into the complexities of shift work in the fire service, unraveling the intricacies of shift patterns and their profound impact on our first responders' wellbeing. Roger brings to light the urgent necessity for education, forward rotation schedules, and the strategic use of planned naps. This enlightening conversation reveals how such changes can enhance resilience among firefighters, leading to reduced absenteeism and heightened efficiency in their critical roles.

As we navigate the challenges faced by those who protect us, leadership emerges as a pivotal force in cultivating a robust workforce. Our discussion underscores the transformative power of health and wellbeing workshops, offering a beacon of hope for departments seeking to bolster morale and safeguard their team's health. The episode also shines a spotlight on the groundbreaking research in circadian rhythms and chronobiology, equipping individuals and fire service departments with knowledge to effectively manage the rigors of their demanding profession. Tune in and arm yourself with the strategies that promise to elevate our first responders from surviving to thriving.

On Friday enjoy a full episode with Roger Sutherland as he digs deeper into Chronobiology and its impacts on our careers.

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening to All Clear!

You can contact us with questions, suggestions or just to say hi at our website
allclearpodcast.com


Also Visit Our Sponsors - Studio Print Shop at
studioprintshop.com

Speaker 1:

As a bonus this week, listen to this snippet from our conversation with Roger Sutherland on a healthy shift. Roger will be answering the question what are the biggest issues facing the fire service? So starting the microphone up again here for a quick conversation that we were just having. So, Roger, I'm going to ask you, like I have so many people what do you think is one of the biggest issues that we face in the fire service now or as first responders?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm not overly experienced in the fire service myself first because I haven't coached a lot of clients with that but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it would be exactly the same in the fire service as it is in all first responders, and that would be the lack of education initially, and then consolidation of information about how to go about shift work. I think what we've done in today's day and age, we're now got to the stage where we need bums on seats, so we're just packing people into a 24-7 environment instead of actually stripping down our 24-7 environments and building them back up as shift working environments. So what I mean by that is, I think what we do is someone calls in with unplanned leave on a next rotation and what we do is we just grab someone, we just put a text out and we grab someone and we just put them in there. We're not doing our due diligence around what shifts they've just done, what they might be dealing with, how they might be going about it, and I do actually think that causes problems in itself, and I think what we need to do is we need to strip these environments down and rebuild them as a shift working environment. We need to plan in naps. We need to make sure that people are doing forward rotations into days off instead of backward rotations. What I mean by that is that you do your day shifts and then your night shifts and then you have your days off, instead of doing nights, afternoons, day shifts and then having your time off. That is shown to be severely detrimental.

Speaker 2:

I also think that in our health and wellbeing sphere, in the services, we really really need to be having workshops to support shift workers, to help them with strategies as to how to go about functioning properly in shift work, because I think you probably learned how to do shift work from your superiors or your colleagues at work.

Speaker 2:

I know I certainly learned how to go about shift work from that, and it may not necessarily and in fact, as science has shown, that's not the right way to go about it. So I'm here to help people now, to bring awareness in education, and I run health and wellbeing workshops in shift working environments. To you know, if the health and wellbeing departments are aware and they're going to pay for them, I will come in and run information sessions, and I think this is something that needs to be done in all services over and over and over again until it becomes practice. Because what this actually does, travis, is it reduces unplanned leave in the workplace. It it also boosts morale, because people are all feeling so much better about what they're actually doing, and it increases productivity as well, because people are feeling so much better, so they're working so much better as well.

Speaker 1:

So when you talk about education to the first responders, you know whether it be fire, police, whatever. Do you think it could be possibly a leadership type of issue where maybe the chiefs or the captains have not thought far enough ahead to realize, hey, maybe we should teach these new guys a little healthier way about how to do it, instead of being thrown in the deep end of the pool?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely the issue today. And don't get me wrong, I don't blame leaders, because the leaders when I say don't blame leaders to be a leader, you're building leaders. So you're building people. So what you need to be doing is you need to be actually educating the people under you because, let's be honest, your captains or your chiefs in your fire areas are people who need people to make them look good. They need you there, they need you turning out to fires, they need you literally there. That makes you look good, because if you've got a truck full of people that puts a fire out, that makes you look good, but if your truck can't turn out because there's insufficient staff, that makes you look really bad.

Speaker 2:

So I honestly believe that these departments or all fire, police, paramedics, whatever what we need to be doing is investing that money.

Speaker 2:

I can tell you the money is in the health and wellbeing departments because they're all allocating funds to it, and you can't expect lieutenants or fire chiefs or captains to have the knowledge as to how to educate people, because they'll give the wrong knowledge.

Speaker 2:

But there are people out there that are literally making it their specialty to put strategies in place, and you will have heard me talking in my last podcast with you as well as now I have the knowledge to help people with simple, free strategies that they're not aware of.

Speaker 2:

And that comes at a very small cost to a captain in his fire department to have someone like me come in run a seminar and help all the people in it. Now, obviously you can't make everyone come, but you can make an impact and make a difference to a lot of people about how you're going about doing it. And I stay on top of the research, because the exciting thing about the research in shift work at the moment is it's very new. It's very, very new. Understanding circadian rhythms and understanding chrono nutrition chronobiology is a very, very new and emerging area. I stay on top of that so departments can actually use someone like me or researchers to come in and run these seminars, take all the pressure off them and they can tick the box, but the benefit is it makes them look good.

Speaker 1:

And you know a lot of that goes back to, for example, with the North Carolina Firefighter Cancer Alliance with us, you know, for the, when we started doing it, people didn't listen. The chiefs oh, I got time for that, I'm going to bed, you know. But now you know, seven, eight, ten years later, guess what people are listening because the information is getting out there. And I know, with us we teach our rookie schools. You know our incoming guys. They, they sit through health and safety. They sit through, you know, cancer exposure reduction. They sit through a mental health and wellness section. Of course there's more to be learned. You can't teach everybody in, you know, an hour, but the point is, once you put it out in front of them, they can start to learn.

Speaker 1:

And I can definitely see this chronobiology and the, the eating and things like that. That is going to be something that will become a bigger and bigger issue as we get further down the road, so to speak. You know, with well, health and wellness for firefighters right now here in the US, cancer was cool, so to speak, because that's what everybody was worried about. Now it's. You know, mental health and the fire service were very reactive. We're not very proactive, so it won't be long, I think, before we start seeing a push toward. You know these topics that we've talked about today, but I appreciate you taking the time to talk about that a little bit, roger, but, like I said, I thought it was good enough for a conversation. We should hit the record button again so we'll talk to you. So much you have been listening to Paul Clear. All Clear is presented by the North Carolina Firefighter Cancer Alliance and the first responders.

Speaker 1:

peer support network. This program is hosted and produced by Travis McGeach and Eric Stevenson. Visit our website, allclearpodcastcom, where you can contact us and leave feedback. If you like what you hear, please share this podcast with someone. The opinions of guests do not necessarily represent the views of the podcast. This podcast is recorded with vScript and with technology that is provided by Cortec Computers. We'll see you soon and, as always, light your fire within.

The Biggest Issues Facing First Responders
Introduction to All Clear Podcast