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Compassionate • Resilient • Courageous

Her Story

Janice Little

Fire Alarm Operator – Peterborough Fire Services

Janice's Story :

“If I get any satisfaction in life, it is to know that I have helped as many out as I could along the way”. (Kerri Little 1988)

I am extremely honoured to be a part of this amazing celebration of women. To think I am inspiring is humbling.

I was shocked to be nominated. I do not go about my daily activities thinking that I am inspiring to others. When I asked my nominator why me, she answered: You have overcome
profound loss and dedicated your career to helping others, becoming a role model for resilience and have the ability to be a strong voice in the community for mental health.

If someone asked me what I could share from my experience; I would say without hesitation that I love my job. I love helping others in need… every single day. I love giving back and being
able to leave work everyday knowing I made a difference in someone’s life that day. Complete strangers of whom I don’t know and will likely never meet. Many may wonder why someone chooses a career in emergency services. Those are my reasons why.

It was through my own traumatic experiences that led me to this career path. I lived a typical childhood, grew up on a farm, tried my best in school, loved sports and had many friends.
When I was 13 years old there was a severe impact on my life when my parents separated and I was involved in a motor vehicle collision which took the life of my older sister. These were powerful life changing moments. I am so thankful for the many people who believed in me and helped to show me different paths to becoming a resilient person. I am so thankful to many people for their guidance during those times.

I had wanted to be a funeral director since the car accident, and that was because of the fact I was critically injured, hospitalized and couldn’t attend my sister’s funeral. The drive came from the desire to help others in their times of loss. Fast forward through high school to college, my father died in a house fire. After losing my father so tragically I came to the realization that being in a funeral home everyday was no longer for me.

People have been so kind and generous over the years to my family, it has taught me a tremendous amount about compassion and putting yourself in someone elses shoes. It is
likely from this that I am able to do my job in the way that I do.

I have spent 20 years dispatching, loving my job, giving back and paying forward. It is the only way I feel I can “repay a debt ”  to the community, to those in need and especially those who
helped when my family was at its worst.

There were difficult calls throughout the years that I dealt with but it was a particular 911 call I took in June 2016 that ultimately changed my life forever. I suffer from Complex Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder. But here I am like I have always been carrying on doing the best that I can and making a life for myself. The recovery process has been nothing short of challenging and downright overwhelming. I have learned so much in the process of which I wish I could shout from the rooftops to anyone and everyone in need.

Coping skills, mindfulness and self care are a few components to living your best life. Look at your life in depth and reach for personal growth. Evaluate different areas of your life; health, relationships, passions, growth and contribution. Ask yourself which areas you can improve upon. If something doesn’t add value or give meaning to your life, see if it can be improved upon. If not, try to reduce or remove it from everyday life. Most of all be patient and kind with yourself. Ultimately strive to be the best you that you can be. xo