Danielle Altschuh Johnston, burn survivor, firefighter New York City Fire Department, NY, shares her story about being a new firefighter, when she was burned on-the-job. She talks honestly and openly of the doubts and anxiety upon her return to work and facing her first fire incidents.
It was Danielle's her first day of work coming off probation as a new firefighter. She had just received her official 'Engine 271' patch and her co-workers at the station joked with her to "go out and get the patch dirty tonight." The call came in early the following morning for a five story apartment arson fire. Danielle describes her experience being burn-injured during clean-up at the scene, and her ensuing challenges going back to work.
"I feel that's is how peer support would have been really helpful for me - it would have helped me anticipate and prepare for some of the emotional challenges - the anxiety and lack of confidence I experienced when I returned to work and experienced my first big fire." She states " I am excited for the opportunity to be involved in the Phoenix SOAR peer support program so that I can help other firefighters who may be experiencing the same challenges recovering from a burn injury."
Phoenix SOAR® is a hospital-based, one-on-one peer support program that connects people with new burn injuries to survivors and family members who have been impacted by a burn injury. Phoenix SOAR was designed by the Phoenix Society in conjunction with a national committee of experts.