I learned as a child that if I was in trouble or there was an emergency to pick up the phone and call 9-1-1. Every parent teaches their children this vital bit of information. But when you call 9-1-1, who's on the other end? Who responds? Who comes to our aid? These questions are easy to answer. The dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, doctors, and nurses are the ones who come to our aid when we need help. A more mysterious question is: what does it cost them to do so?
The new movie, First Responders, in theaters as a Fathom Event on Monday and Tuesday, October 24 and 25, honors these men and women who often sacrifice much and sometimes sacrifice all to respond when we dial 9-1-1.
Meet Mark and Karen (Chris Nelson and Karen Boles respectively). Mark's been with the fire department for 20 years and Karen is a former dispatcher but now a trauma councilor. When a particularly tragic fire leaves Mark suffering the depression and nightmares associated with PTSD, Karen struggles to help him and keep their marriage together.
Meet Darnell and Nia (Cameron Arnett and Mari White respectively). Darnell's a paramedic and Nia's a cop. When Nia suffers gunshot wounds during a routine traffic stop, Darnell's world and that of their children, Marquis (Jai'Varn Hatton) and Angel (Naomi DeVaughn) is turned upside down.
Nia and Karen are best friends. They, together with their husbands and co-workers, are in a first responders bowling league. Their kids hang out together. They're like family. And when one member of the family hurts, they all hurt.
Filmed as dramatizations of actual events that happened to a group of first responders, the film gives us a glimpse into the personal cost that these professions sometimes have on their practitioners. COVID-19 brought home to the general public just how much doctors, nurses, and other first responders are willing to personally put on the line in order to bring the care and aid that people need. What can we be other than grateful?
Anyone who has experience with trauma or PTSD might find it difficult to see this film as the nightmare scenes, in particular, are harrowing. Thankfully, the people depicted were courageous enough in their vulnerability to seek help. Faith also plays a big part in staying the course through their difficulties.
If your heart isn't moved by the stories of Mark and Karen, Darnell and Nia (which probably isn't at all possible), the interviews with actual first responders at the end of the film will. A retired police officer and two retired firefighters tell their stories with simplicity and courage. Even though they each experienced some sort of trauma because of their jobs, they were all asked one question: would you do it all over again? Their resounding answer: YES!
Click here for information on the Fathom Events page: FIRST RESPONDERS