Peer Support Team helps first responders in stressful situations, Lyell crash

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police continue their investigation, trying to find out exactly what caused yesterday’s crash at the intersection of Mt. Read Boulevard, and Lyell Avenue. Two children were killed, and a third child was critically injured.

News10NBC talked to the Monroe County Peer Support Team which provides support to all first responders that work in highly stressful incidents. We find out how this helps them cope.

The peer group according to Laurie Kingsley-Henry is put in place so that first responders always have somewhere to turn to that actually understands what they’re going through.

Every single day first responders see, and deal with emergency calls that the average person can’t even imagine. Wednesday’s deadly car crash is one example of a highly stressful incident, involving the deaths of 2 young children. Kingsley-Henry is on the Executive Board of Directors with peer support team. She says the first thing to remember is that first responders are people too.

"They’re just like you and I, and when that incident is over they’re gonna eventually at the end of their shift go home," said Kingsley-Henry.

And it’s when they’re at home, and done with their work day their stress levels can be at its highest. Kingsley-Henry says it can affect them differently especially if they’re a parent themselves.

They may definitely give their kids an extra hug tonight," said Kingsley-Henry. She continues, "You know what’s important for them, you’re not gonna like this part, get away from the media part of it. Get away so you’re not seeing it in your face every day, and just try to get some quiet time to let yourself process the things that you saw at any scene."

Kingsley-Henry explains what happens when a first responder reaches out to the team seeking emotional help.

"If you need us give us a call, and we can talk to you one on one. We can sit down with anybody who’s at a horrific scene, and try to help you get through that," said Kingsley-Henry.

And she is no stranger to the type of support the team provides.

"I know when I was a police officer on the job a while back we used to reach out to each other, and just sit and chat, and talk and check on each other, and that’s the important thing that you’re talking, you’re not just bottling everything up, and you’re still trying to get up and do everything that you do every day and that’s important too," said Kingsley-Henri.

Most first responders agencies have their own support team. Click on the link below if you’re a first responder in Monroe County, and are seeking some help.

You can also reach them by phone: 585-310-1661