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Citizen volunteer program offers emotional first aid to survivors of tragedy in Lane Co.

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Trauma Intervention Programs, Inc.
TIP volunteers are called by police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and hospital personnel to assist family members and friends following an unexpected traumatic event including natural or unexpected death; survivors of violent crime including rape, assault, robbery, or burglary; survivors of fire; disoriented or lonely elderly persons; people involved in accidents; and those whose loved one has died by suicide or overdose.

When someone has just experienced a tragedy, they shouldn’t be alone in the worst hours of their lives. This is the basis for Lane County’s newly established Trauma Intervention Program or TIP.

When someone has just experienced a tragedy, they shouldn’t be alone in the worst hours of their lives. This is the basis for Lane County’s newly established Trauma Intervention Program or TIP.

TIP is a group of well-trained community volunteers called to tragic scenes to give support to those affected. They could respond to suicides, overdoses, car accidents or fires.

Bridget Byfield directs TIP of Lane County. As a volunteer decades ago in Multnomah County, she was called as courtesy to help after the Thurston school shooting in Springfield. “I was able to assist the first responders in some of the trauma that they went through when they knew they were responding to their own families in that school.”

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Alvin Mahmudov
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Unsplash
TIP volunteers are ready 24/7 to offer a warm hand to fellow residents suffering immediately after a traumatic event.

Byfield says TIP volunteers are ready 24/7 to offer a warm hand and they usually arrive between 12 and 20 minutes of a traumatic event in the county. There is a current call for volunteers. “I would challenge everyone,” she said, “especially when you see so many signs saying ‘Choose Kindness,’ it’s just being kind to a neighbor.”

All the information is at TIPlanecounty.org

Oregon now has two TIP Chapters operating in Multnomah and Lane counties.

In a release, Captain Doug Mozan from the Eugene Police Department said he is working closely with the TIP of Lane County program. He asserted that when care is provided to those experiencing trauma in the moment, healing can begin immediately, and impacts are lessened down the road.

“We know from experience that people heal faster and experience less disorder from trauma when early intervention occurs,” Mozan said. “This is why we’re excited to have TIP volunteers in our community. Currently crisis responders from CAHOOTs assist with grief support on scenes. When TIP responders join our ranks, we’ll have our CAHOOTs resources more available for in-progress crisis intervention.”

The TIP Volunteer Training Academy will begin Thursday, March 2, 2023.

No experience is necessary and volunteers must pass a background check. To view the training schedule, see www.tiplanecounty.org

To register, call or email Bridget Byfield at: phone: (503)705-2966 or email: Bridget@tiplanecounty.org

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.