Station Pride Articles

Portraits of an Emergency

You’ve likely seen the compelling artwork, created by Artist and Firefighter Paramedic (FF/P) Daniel Sundahl, popping up in your Facebook newsfeed, Instagram, and relevant articles over the last year or more.  Sundahl’s images convey a strong visual message highlighting the individual conflicts faced by 13096282_10208174385149496_2973787932019326729_nemergency responders as they serve the needs of humanity. When the chaos of a bloody scene has settled or when the fire has been extinguished, responders are often left to wrestle with their own thoughts and feelings in
private moments of deep reflection. Every minute of every day, emergency responders around the world respond to and mitigate emergency situations based in the intense reality of raw mortality.

In his new book, Portraits of an Emergency, FF/P Daniel Sundahl has found an artistic way of depicting these powerful moments of reflection allowing other responders to connect and communicate their mental and emotion challenges, as well as providing outsiders the opportunity to begin to understand the inner struggle of their public servants.

While making your way through the book, you immediately begin to feel the soul of the artist, and if you’re a responder, you suddenly find yourself identifying with the images and their accompanying stories. The artistic renderings of photos taken by Sundahl shine a bright ghostly light onto the moment’s that create Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in emergency responders, putting this important issue on Front Street.

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In the last year or two, there has been a meaningful conversation within the fire service regarding suicide and the propensity and effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in first responders. Daniel Sundahl puts himself out on the forefront of creating PTSD awareness industry-wide by capturing his own struggles and confidently breaking macho stereotypes. Portraits of an Emergency is a powerful walk through Sundahl’s own difficult realization of PTSD and his answer for how to face it and heal.

By sharing his artwork with the emergency service community, Sundahl is giving himself an outlet that helps him reconcile his internal conflicts with PTSD while providing thought-provoking images for emergency responders to reflect on their own mental and emotional well-being.

Portraits of an Emergency is a must have for every firehouse dayroom, EMS station break room, 911 dispatch center restroom, or police station ready room. Aside from raising the level of awareness concerning PTSD among first responders, the book provides emergency service leaders, company officers, and chiefs a casual, edgy, ice-breaker to approaching the topic of PTSD with their workforce.

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We all know firefighters, and first responders don’t enjoy discussing their possible weaknesses. PTSD can be a scary and uncertain disorder. Firefighters and emergency workers will often hide their symptoms fearing for their career or harbor the idea of becoming an outcast among their peers for being weak or unstable. It’s imperative for first responders to realize that PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with them, it’s about what happened to them, Sundahl’s images highlight that sentiment exactly. The photo renderings in Portraits of an Emergency helps to start the conversation and allow Chief’s and leaders to 13327391_1300019950027955_5903404655981339435_nprovide avenues for assistance. Part of Sundahl’s purpose for this book, which is a first of it’s kind, is to help prevent firefighter and emergency responder suicides. It’s an important issue in our career field and often addressed passively.

As first responders, we often live our lives wondering if we’ve made enough of an impact or if we’ve made a difference. Firefighter Paramedic Daniel Sundahl doesn’t have this problem. By placing his talent and his personal struggles in the forefront of his new book, Sundahl is providing PTSD awareness with the goal of first responder suicide prevention for the benefit of us all. Daniel Sundahl with DanSun Photo Art and his first book Portraits of an Emergency is leaving his mark on the fire and emergency services. Sundahl’s photo art will likely become a powerfully poignant staple of the emergency service industry worldwide.

Order your station a copy of Portraits of an Emergency (Here)

About Jon Marr (29 Articles)
Jon Marr is a 18-year fire service veteran originally from the Rhode Island area. Jon is a Station Captain with the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in support of the Space and Missile Defense Command. Prior to Kwajalein, Jon spent 8 years as a Fire Captain for the Area Support Group Kuwait Fire & Emergency Services Department supporting the U.S. Army Central Command in Kuwait. He was also a Fire Lieutenant at Forward Operating Base Falcon in Southern Baghdad, as well as 3 years working for AMR Seattle. Jon is a certified Fire Officer III, Fire Instructor II, Haz-Mat Tech/IC, holds a Bachelors degree in Fire Administration from Waldorf College and has been an EMT for 17 years. He is currently a Graduate Student at Central Connecticut State University studying Marriage & Family Therapy. Jon enjoys scuba diving, traveling, and watching his 7-year-old son see the world in wonder. Jon is a firm believer in maintaining a healthy balance of pride, tradition, and safety within the fire service.

5 Comments on Portraits of an Emergency

  1. As a 30 year serving London paramedic and amateur photographer / artists , I have the greatest respect for Dan. Let’s not forget his hard work towards PTSD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 32 years and still serving in surrey as a paramedic love his work and what hes doing for PTSD

    Like

  3. 32 years and still serving in surrey as a paramedic love his work and what hes doing for PTSD

    Like

  4. Sara Wood-K // August 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm // Reply

    This artwork is amazing He captures everything we feel and fear.

    Like

  5. Definitely is an accurate depiction of the screams that wake us at night.

    Like

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