A recent report now says firefighters and police officers are more likely to die from suicide than in the line of duty.
Quincy Fire Paramedic Justin Twaddle said Wednesday the reality of his job is that firefighters can't save everyone, and that takes a toll.
"A six-year-old child, kid was struck by a vehicle and there's blood coming out of ears, nose, eyes," 15-year QFD veteran Twaddle said. "If I hadn't had touched this girl and worked on her I don't think it would have been as big of deal because I could feel how broken she was. I could feel, see how damaged she was."
Twaddle said he had someone to talk to about what he saw. But he added the stigma of the job that you have to be tough keeps others from asking for help.
"There is something going on with our firefighters that we need to address," Twaddle said.
According to the Ruderman Family Foundation report, 103 firefighters and 140 police officers committed suicide in 2017. That's compared to 93 firefighters and 129 officers killed in the line of duty.
"20-25% of responders police fire, EMS, experience some sort of PTSD during their career," Twaddle explained. "That's a conservative estimate. It's probably closer to 30-40."
To combat this epidemic, the Quincy Fire Department uses Critical Instance Stress debriefings. This is a joint effort between Quincy Fire and the Quincy Police Departments.
QFD also provides peer support for smaller groups and one-on-one sessions if someone is in critical danger of hurting themselves..
"They are never out there on their own," Twaddle shared. "The emotions they feel is normal. All they have to do is make a phone call and we'll be there ."
There was a Quincy EMS suicide six years ago, but it was never confirmed if PTSD was the cause.