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In the Line of Fire: Trauma in the Emergency Services

September 29, 2017

To my mind, there is at present quite an explosion of writing on the subject of trauma, from a range of perspectives. The events of 11 September 2001, so graphically played out (and replayed in an almost psychopathological manner) in the world’s media, have served to focus our minds on the emergency services and the trauma they suffer in lessening traumatic effects on others. In this book we learn that the United Nations records some 500 disasters per annum.


In the Line of Fire is written by two professionals who have an impressive amount of experience of working with front-line emergency services in Canada. They have been co-directors of the Critical Incident Stress Team at Pearson International Airport in Toronto for over 15 years. They use this book to draw together evidence that is based on local and international events. They use case histories to bring to life the stressful events that emergency staff experience and refer to research evidence that convincingly builds a model that they refer to as a ‘trajectory towards health or illness’. This gives us encouragement that many parts of a range of interventions may nudge those exposed to traumatic events towards healthy coping.

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