The Howling Wolf

Just as our wolf logo symbolizes the leadership, loyalty, strength of character and sense of family that is displayed by emergency responders, The Howling Wolf serves as the voice of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. A wolf’s howl attracts other members of the pack, invites communication and creates a strong bond between pack members. We hope this blog will have the same impact on emergency responders, workplace safety professionals and traffic safety advocates, bringing us all together in the same pack and providing valuable information about workplace safety issues affecting first responders.

Check in frequently for updates on JPMF events and initiatives, interesting research and to add your own howl to our pack.


Why Our Safety Presentations Trigger Shift in Perspective

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

As emergency services workers, we are tasked with protecting our community in environments that are never predictable, always volatile, and often beyond our control. John’s death brings to the forefront the issue of workplace safety after hours – when our community is asleep we are protecting their businesses, properties and investments, which are often themselves the very menace we face.”

- Darren Leggatt, Calgary Police Service

By MARYANNE POPE, Board Chair, JPMF

And Darren would know. Not only was he a K-9 officer for many years, he was also the officer who went into the warehouse with Const. John Petropoulos on September 29th, 2000 – and started CPR on John after finding him lying on a lunchroom floor, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. {read more}

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Even Small Acts Can Save Lives

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

By DARREN LEGGATT

Today is not like any other day. But like most people these days, there was a lot that weighed on my mind the moment I arose this morning. The day did begin like most others: a brisk walk around the park with the hound, a chance to stare at the stars before the sunrise, and an opportunity to plan the events of the day to come in the calm of the early morning.

Today is the date that provides a somber and lasting reminder to me of the events that occurred 16 years ago this morning; the events that led to the tragic and preventable death of Constable John Petropoulos. So today for me will never be like any other day, knowing that a small act would have prevented the death of my friend and co-worker. {read more}

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A Story of Heroes

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

By BRIAN WILLIS

The story of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) is a story of heroes. The ancient Greeks believed that every person has it within them to be a hero. They defined a hero as a protector; someone who has the ability to not only look after himself or herself, but also to look after someone else. They have the physical abilities, the knowledge, and the desire to serve. The core strengths of the hero are compassion, love and a commitment to something bigger than themselves. {read more}

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Workplace on Wheels

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

By STUART BRIDEAUX

Paramedics and EMTs face numerous challenges in their day-to-day work environment. Assaults and threats from patients or bystanders; exposure to blood, bodily fluids, hazardous materials; lifting heavy equipment and patients; or facing emotional or psychological stress and trauma are just a few of the challenges that come to mind. Fortunately many of these hazards are not a daily occurrence. Some may not happen in any one paramedic’s career. {read more}

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The Knock on the Door

Monday, September 26th, 2016

By SHIRLEY HICKMAN, Executive Director, Threads of Life

It’s the dark, small hours of the morning. The sound of the phone ringing jars you instantly out of deep sleep. You reach toward the phone’s glowing screen – hopeful, fearful, anxious.

That middle-of-the-night call – or the knock on the door – is the worst nightmare of every parent, every spouse. There’s been an injury or a death. Your loved one isn’t coming home from this shift.

Those who, mercifully, have never had that call can just barely imagine the pain and horror of that moment. We’ve all read the news accounts of work-related fatalities and serious injuries. What most of us don’t imagine is the long-term impact such a tragedy has on families and communities in the weeks, months and years after the phone call and beyond the news stories.

The costs of a serious injury, a work-related death or an occupational disease are far-reaching. They include not only the economic loss of the worker, but often lost productivity for family members and friends who either can’t return to their own jobs right away because of the grief and stress, or find it hard to focus on their work. There are health care costs not only for an injured or ill worker, but for loved ones whose intense grief makes them more susceptible to illness. In the aftermath of a tragedy, there’s a greater likelihood those affected will be prone to mental health problems, substance abuse, marital breakdown, even suicide. That phone call is just the beginning of a long journey.

“THAT IS HOW MY NORMAL ENDED”

For Betty Evans, it was the doorbell that pulled her out of bed one September night.

“Looking out my bedroom window I saw a police car on the street and two police officers at the door,” Betty writes in Threads newsletter.

“Was I the mother of John Stephen Lawrence Evans? Yes. Did I know where he was? Yes, he was working on a cattle station in the Australian Outback. ‘Mrs. Evans, I am sorry to tell you your son has been killed in a motor vehicle accident.’ That is how my normal ended.”

Those who’ve experienced an on-the-job tragedy become absolutely passionate about making sure nobody else has to live through that. Threads of Life – the Association for Workplace Tragedy Family Support – and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) share the commitment to make all workplaces safe to prevent injuries, deaths and illness to first responders and all workers. Threads of Life family members share the stories of what happened to them in the belief that if people truly understand the impact a workplace tragedy can have, they will double their efforts to make their workplaces safe, and to work safely themselves.

“I HOPE I CAN BE OF SUPPORT TO OTHERS”

Volunteering and sharing her story through Threads of Life, Betty writes, “has offered me a purpose. I hope I can be of support to others and to assist in creating a culture change with regard to workplace safety.”

Understanding the pain and life-long impact of a workplace tragedy, Betty and other family members hope, will be an inspiration to all to “Make it Safe” at their workplace. Please support the JPMF’s Make It Safe campaign by sharing this blog post with the hashtag #MakeItSafe and watch for other social media posts during the 10-day campaign, which runs through Oct. 4.

Support the campaign and make it safe!

 

Threads of Life brings hope and healing to Canadian families who have been affected by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease. It is a national charity connecting more than 2,400 family members through one-on-one peer support, links to community support services, and the opportunity to take action to help prevent similar tragedies to other families. The charitable registration number is 87524 8908 RR0001.

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They Choose to Serve

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

By BRIAN WILLIS

When you think of professions dedicated to serving your communities what do you think of? Do you think of clergy, health care professionals, or perhaps those who work at food banks and shelters? You might have even thought of the men and women of the Armed Forces who serve our country. Did you think of law enforcement professionals?

Law enforcement is a complex, challenging and demanding profession, and it is a profession of service. It is a profession of men and women who have chosen to serve their communities by taking an oath to Serve and Protect. It is unique, however, among the service professions in that law enforcement professionals wear a bullet resistant vest, carry a gun, Taser, pepper spray, handcuffs, tourniquets and usually wear a uniform every day. {read more}

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