A key component of the Union’s social media platform is the “Seconds Count” campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to impart upon the public the risks associated with underfunding and under-resourcing. The inability to respond to an emergency call in those precious few seconds is only heightened with inadequate staffing and under-resourcing. While this message was developed as a public information tool, it is also applicable to E-Comm staff, and our own mental health and well-being. When we are on a call with a member of the public who urgently needs help, every second on the line with them can take a psychological toll.
For the past several months, we have been confronted with the consequences of lengthy wait times for BCEHS, leaving our members to remain on the line, helpless, for seconds that turn into minutes. This has only been exacerbated by recent extreme weather, resulting in significant flooding and flood-related calls for service, some of which involve callers who are trapped as the water level rises around them. We take and dispatch these calls one after another, sometimes without any chance to breathe in between. We sit alone, confronted by distress, panic, violence, and sometimes death. While the physical and psychological challenges of this job have always been significant, they are becoming much more intense in both scope and impact.
Our primary mandate is to assist others in their time of need. However, this task cannot be accomplished if we do not help ourselves first and ensure that we are being taken care of. Now, more than ever, we need to stop and ask if we are doing alright. It’s not a sign of weakness to reach out for help, and there is support available to you.
Take a moment to read over the Mental Health Continuum above, where do you fall on the continuum? It is normal that we flow in and out of each phase of the continuum, especially the reacting and healthy phase, it’s when we notice that we are consistently feeling the injured and ill stage that we need to seek out professional help. Below are some of the resources available to us.
HomeWood Health – Employee and Family Assistance Program 1-800-663-1142
- All employees (including Auxiliary Employees) have access to E-Comm’s Employee and Family Assistance Program administered by HomeWood Health. Through HomeWood Health you can access local counselling resources, and a range of other services.
- Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- Support services for employees and their families, including counselling
- E-Courses and tools related to Crisis, Grief, Finances, and Lifestyle
- If you are an operations employee who needs urgent support, mention to their intake triage that you are a first responder
WorkSafe Critical Incident Response Program 1.888.922.3700
- The WorkSafeBC Critical Incident Response (CIR) Program is a confidential, early intervention initiative that provides critical incident intervention to any worker who has experienced a traumatic event in the workplace. The goal is to reduce the distress that workers may experience immediately following an event, and to mitigate the development of further, more serious difficulties.
- The pager is monitored 9 am to 11 pm daily with next day response for after-hours calls
- This program is for events that occurred at work within the last three weeks. You do not have to have a claim with WorkSafeBC to use the service. It is free and voluntary.
- The program provides Critical Incident Stress debriefings plus up to five individual sessions.
- Psychological injuries and physical injuries that are caused by or happen in the workplace should be reported including if you miss work or if you need additional support. You can report an injury or illness via WorkSafeBC’s website, by phone at 1-888-967-5377 (Mon to Fri 8am to 6pm), or by fax/mail (details on Form 6 available on the WCB website or from E-Comm).
- After you file your claim, notify Kara De Boer in Human Resources (she needs to file a claim on behalf of E-Comm) at 604-215-6218 or Kara.deBoer@ecomm911.ca.
If you have any questions, concerns, or need any additional support, please reach out to me directly at Katherine.Ramsay@ecpbc.ca or to the Union executive at Executive@ecpbc.ca. We’re here to help the best we can as we make it through this difficult time. For the members who are stranded or directly affected by the flood/landslides please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org in case there are resources or other members we can connect you with to help with your individual situations while we make it through these coming days.
Health and Safety Coordinator