Firefighters’ battle with PTSD: “Every day is an anxious day”
For nine months, former-firefighter Roger Moore had the image of a girl he’d seen die, hovering in his peripheral vision. The child had been killed in a car crash several years before and Moore had been one of the first on the scene. It had been harrowing at the time, but he’d got up and gone to work as usual. It was only once the firefighter retired from his 30-year career a few years later, in 2013, that the image of her face returned to torment him.
“I didn’t tell anyone about it for a long time but it was the first sign that something was wrong,” says the 55 year-old, speaking from his home in the Midlands. Other experiences began replaying in his mind: two plane crashes with no survivors; horrific house fires; car wreckages before seatbelt laws came in. “Once in the pub the faces of nearly every dead person I’d ever dealt with flashed across the front of my eyes and I burst into tears,” he says.
Soon, tannoy announcements and high-pitch beeping sounds would send him spiralling into anxiety attacks – the noises reminded him of responding to emergency callouts.