North Las Vegas Fire Department uses peer support group to cope days after fatal crash
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The community is still struggling to come to terms with a fatal crash on Saturday January 29 at the intersection of Commerce Street and Cheyenne Avenue that left nine people dead, including six children.
Although the crash site is cleared and families are left to mourn, the consequences of responding to a horrific accident such as this are not easy for first responders who are now shedding light on the support they need at work. .
North Las Vegas Fire Department Station 50 was the first to be notified, but had no idea what situation they were about to face.
“It was an extremely traumatic event,” said Capt. Dennis Mclane of the North Las Vegas Fire Department.
He is one of three supervisors of the department’s peer support group, which was a crucial back-up after Saturday’s crash.
“With the incident on Saturday there were a lot of people who needed to talk,” captain Mclane said.
He tells 8 News Now that the kitchen table was full of firefighters who responded on Saturday.
“For many, this will be a once in a career event with the number of tragedies that have happened in one go,” said Captain Sergio Reynoso of North Las Vegas Fire Department Station 50.
The peer support group intervenes when there is a critical incident involving in particular children.
“The broadcast at this formal meeting is so important that it gets people talking and starting to let go of the emotional connection to what they’ve seen,” Captain Reynoso said.
The team is made up of several other first responders who have had to respond to other traumatic events, making it easy to talk to someone who can relate.
The group uses mental health clinicians if firefighters want to keep talking to someone.
For those who responded on Saturday, we’re told it made them reflect on their family life and cling a bit more to their children.