Stronger Together is the goal of the workshop with the same name that the First Responders Support Team (FRST) offers to first responders and their significant others.
Kevin and Kay Erickson are both first responders. Kevin is a Detective in the Youth Bureau, for the Sioux City, IA, Police Department. Kay is currently a Nurse Practitioner in Internal Medicine at St. Lukes Hospital in Sioux City and has been an emergency room nurse.
Stronger Together First Responders Support Team (FRST) Program
Kevin and Kay attended the Stronger Together Workshop last summer at a precinct in Omaha. They were interested in what they might learn to strengthen their marriage and communication skills, and how to be better prepared for a crisis. Kevin was also interested in what he might be able to bring back to share with his department.
Kevin said he is fortunate with Kay having experience in medicine and working in the ER that “she gets it”. She knows what it is like and has experienced trauma herself. They felt like they had good communication, but we’re open to new tools to help them communicate better. The workshop helped them identify a few new ways to communicate in a more civilized manner when disagreements occur, and how to see the other person’s perspective. They also learned communication strategies that work for them during crisis and non-crisis situation, from other couples in the workshop.
For first responders, it is not IF a critical incident will occur, it is when will it occur? How a critical incident is handled by everyone in the family can make or break a relationship, and sometimes even a career. Being prepared and knowing how to deal with the stress and the trauma will make an extremely difficult situation a little easier. It helps when the spouse/significant other has some understanding of what is happening. The workshop also helps the first responders with healing and resiliency restoration.
With first responders having one of the highest divorce rates, Kevin and Kay recommend the workshop to all first responders. Dealing with issues proactively is easier and more positive than trying to put things back together after a critical incident.
Another benefit from the workshop that Kevin enjoyed was the networking with others in the class. Now he has other first responders that he can reach out to when working in the field. Also, he did learn new tools that he is sharing with others at the Sioux City Police Department.
As impactful as the workshop was for the Erickson’s, both being first responders, it may be even more beneficial when one partner is not a first responder. Learning what first responders go through in a critical incident and making a plan for post-crisis recovery is extremely advantageous.
The Erickson’s thank the donors who support the First Responders Foundation making this workshop and other classes and programs available to first responders.
The next Stronger Together Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 24th from 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM. The workshop is limited to 20 couples. To register click here to email or call 402-218-1234 then press 2.