Monday, February 19, 2018

How S.C. first responders are trying to save their own

Firefighter suicides outnumber line-of-duty deaths. How S.C. first responders are trying to save their own.
The Post and Courier
Angie Jackson
February 18, 2018
Suicides such as Emily Avin’s were once overlooked by firefighters and paramedics eager to maintain an image of bravery and invincibility. But that’s changing as the profession acknowledges a deadly scourge that claims more lives than the perils firefighters face in the line of duty.

Emily Avin was supposed to come home that day in September.

Her parents had arranged it: Avin would move back into their country home in the small Florence County town of Pamplico, where she grew up playing softball and cheering for her high school football team as the mascot. It would be a break, for a month or so, from her job as a paramedic, a career the young woman loved but now found emotionally draining.

She worked one last 24-hour shift in Aiken. Afterward, instead of driving across the state, Avin called her mother upset.

Sue Ann Avin detected hopelessness in her daughter’s voice.

“Emily, you’re not thinking about doing anything to hurt yourself, are you?”
Later that morning, Emily Avin called 911 from her home in Aiken to report a suicide.

She then picked up a gun, walked outside and pulled the trigger before anyone could reach her. She was 26.
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