Cody Shea and Vern Porter from the Tacoma Fire Department sit down with the GCP crew to talk about their remarkable documentary, The Call We Carry. Based out of Tacoma, the documentary highlights the crisis that is brewing amongst today's first responders. In a culture where showing vulnerability means showing weakness, this ground-breaking documentary attempts to break down these barriers and smash the stigma of mental health in the fire service. Follow the journeys of 4 Tacoma Firefighters as they share their stories of pain, sacrifice, and resiliency in the midst of an unprecedented call volume increase. The film provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of those who put it all on the line every day, in an effort to prove, once and for all, that NO ONE FIGHTS ALONE…
00:10 – They kick off the episode talking about ghost hauntings, Justin welcomes Cody and Vern, and Vern shares when he was last at the Union Club. They talk about how The Union Club has evolved over the years, Cody talks about the station he's been at and how long he's been there. He talks about the area he covers, the levels of care in the field, and Vern explains why firefighters go to every call. He talks about how long he's been a firefighter, how he ended up as a Tacoma firefighter, and Cody talks about feeling the pulse of the city living downtown. He explains how the app Pulse Point has changed their job, the competitive nature of firefighting, and what brought him into this line of work.
19:57 – Cody talks about what got him started with doing social media for the Tacoma Fire Department, what led him to make the documentary, and Justin talks about the power behind Vern's story. Vern discusses what it feels like since the making of the video, the struggles he's faced since the documentary's release, and how firefighters are counselors for people in the community. Justin speaks on how the movie highlights the emergency call volume increase over the years, Scotts talks about the importance for other firefighters across the country to watch the video, and Jeff shares his appreciation for the cinematography within the movie.
38:25 – Vern speaks to how the job takes a particular type of people to do it, the various adrenalin things they do for extra hobbies, and Cody talks about the amazing honesty behind Vern's story. Justin talks about getting in on the last showing of the documentary, Cody shares that he didn't know the film was going to go the way it has, and Vern talks about the impact PTSD has on their significant others and children in their lives. Justin jumps into coaster questions, Vern shares his love of the show Tacoma FD, and Cody talks about his respect for the show.
58:40 – Vern talks about the funding restraints in Tacoma, Cody talks about the population increase in the community, and Vern shares how many new stations Tacoma has put in in the past 20 years. He talks about the stress on the crews, the mandatory overtime involved, and the city's workforce limitations. Vern explains how Seattle has done a better job at expanding its fire departments than Tacoma, the city council's shortcomings, and how they have a backup from other areas to cover for them if they don't have the manpower available when calls come in.
Thank you, Cody and Vern, for sharing your story and the amazing work you do for our community!!Support The Grit City Podcast
- The Call We Carry: Confronting PTSD In The Fire Service | Tacoma Fire Documentary Film - YouTube — The Call We Carry: Confronting PTSD In The Fire Service | Tacoma Fire Documentary Film
- The Call We Carry: Confronting PTSD In The Fire Service - TFD Documentary | Facebook — The ground-breaking documentary film, challenges the status quo on the impacts of trauma exposure in
- Tacoma Firefighters | IAFF Local 31 (@tacomafirefighters) • Instagram photos and videos — City of Tacoma Professional Firefighters
- Tacoma FD | truTV.com
- IAFF Center of Excellence - Rehab & Treatment for Fire Fighters — Treatment for successful recovery from substance abuse, PTSD and other behavioral health issues.
- PulsePoint — PulsePoint Respond is a 911-connected app that can immediately inform you of emergencies occurring in your community and can request your help when CPR is needed nearby.
- Code 4 NW - First Responder Crisis Response and Referral Network — Code 4 Northwest provides a comprehensive and holistic community of confidential support to people within the first responder and critical care family.