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"Your book was given to me as a gift for my birthday about a month ago. I was so excited to get through the pages to see more pics, but I was so overcome with emotions that I have tucked away for years and years , it took me almost 2 weeks to finish it. It is the most beautiful gift I have ever been given. The way you capture images shows so much intensity, so much emotion and feeling. You get right to the heart of why I do this job and love it, and hate it, so much. The raw emotion is almost too much at times, but I also needed this reminder of how much I really do love this job. I almost gave up and threw in he towel, but after reading your book I felt so refreshed to know someone understands how intense day to day can really be. I thank you, and am looking forward to your next book !!" - Jodi Beck, EMT

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DanSun Photoart written

Daniel Sundahl

Artist / Firefighter / Paramedic/ Public Speaker and Traveller

I've been fortunate enough to live in several countries and experience many cultures from around the world. Travel....Music....Photography...Art, throw in a little Paramedic work and Firefighting for excitement and that's me. 

I'm passionate about raising mental health awareness for first responders, many of these images are based on real calls I've attended over a 17 year career as a full time paramedic and firefighter. I put a lot of emotion in my work and as you look through these images you may connect with them if you're a fellow first responder. If you've never worked in emergency services then these images will give you a glimpse into our world.

Thanks for visiting my page and feel free to use the 'contact me' link above if you would like to get in touch.


All images © 2011-2020 DanSun PhotoArt

Covid Times


Foggy glasses

Sweating inside your gloves

Hot plastic suits

Increased risk of infection

Cardiac arrests are stressful enough without the added stresses of COVID times. Let's minimize the stresses we can control to counter the stresses we can't. A big thanks to my peers in Williams lake EMS for helping me with this one.

The Great Deceiver

The Great Deceiver

We attend many psychiatric emergency calls; for me, the majority of these are suicide attempts. It amazes me how little training paramedics, police officers and firefighters have to deal with these potentially life-threatening emergencies…but that’s a topic for another post. I’ve seen attempts made by purposely taking two extra Tylenol pills to heads being removed by shotguns. I can generally categorize attempts into two groups, one is a plea for help, and the other is deadly determination to end one’s life. The resolve of the second group is genuinely chilling. Building a suicide machine in a hotel room, parking in a field and engineering a deadly carbon monoxide apparatus from their car or drowning themselves in a bucket of water are a few examples of the determination I’ve witnessed. The ones that convince us they’re okay and deny wanting to hurt themselves only to complete their task shortly after are the most harrowing for me – that’s the motivation for this image, The Great Deceiver.


Bagpipes to Heaven

Bagpipes to Heaven It's said that the music of the bagpipes is the only sound heard in heaven. The spirits of the fallen follow the notes of the piper as it carries them to heaven.

"Through howl of wind and showers of rain,

We play for the living, the dead and the slain,

Our notes they are the sound of an angels swoon

for our enemies the sound of their coming doom

Be you married or buried our pipes sound true

Whenever we're needed we'll play there for you"

A big thanks to my firefighter brother Adam Lindsay from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services for helping me with this one.


Here's a commissioned image I recently finished for The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. CANSOFCOM is a high-readiness organization, able to deploy special operations forces on very short notice to protect Canadians from threats at home and abroad.

Missing Woman Formation

The Covid 19 Selfie Project

Station Trauma

Over the past several years, I’ve spoken with thousands of my peers from all over the world. We talk about protocols, mental health, trauma, recovery, resiliency and causes of mental injuries. Non-traumatic organizational factors is a common theme mentioned when I hear about their stressors. We seem to focus on trauma exposure when talking about PTSD and other aspects of poor mental health, but what are some of the other, controllable, contributing factors to our mental wellbeing?

On February 14th, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a paper titled Assessing the Relative Impact of Diverse Stressors among Public Safety Personnel. The results of this study that included 4441 respondents showed that non-traumatic workplace stressors appear to be MORE critical than trauma exposure for poor mental health in emergency workers. Some of the non-traumatic factors included:

Dealing with co-workers

The feeling that different rules apply to different people (e.g., favouritism)

Excessive administrative duties

Constant change in policy/legislation

Staff shortages

Perceived pressure to volunteer free time

Dealing with supervisors

Inconsistent leadership style

Leaders over-emphasize the negatives

Internal investigations

Feeling like you always have to prove yourself to the organization

Why are the results of this study so relevant? We can’t control the traumatic factors of our job, but we can change the non-traumatic elements. The ‘Station Stress’ we receive, which, according to this study, is a more accurate predictor of our mental health than the trauma we experience, can be mitigated by changes in our work environments. The conclusion of this study recommends policy makers should explore ways to minimize station stress in support of emergency workers by creating a psychologically safe workplace. Simply put – Validate, Support and Understand. If you’re a manager, supervisor or chief officer I strongly suggest you download a full copy of the paper here:…/i…/article_deploy/ijerph-17-01234.pdf




When you've reached the point where you just don't give a shit anymore, and you would just rather not feel anything - then that's when support from your family, supervisors and peers has the most impact.


There's not enough space to do CPR in a helicopter - unless you only need to use your fingertips.

Hang On

Hang On

Often we're so surprised when a first responder takes their life. They show no signs of struggle or of the pain they're in. I know what it's like because I was there once myself. We're afraid that others will perceive us as being weak and we get very good at hiding our torment and agony from our family and co-workers. I call this the 'false okay' and have created a few images portraying this state of mind.

Here are a few signs and symptoms that may be a clue that things aren't as okay as they seem:

-Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy

-Withdrawn and distant -Irritable behaviour, angry outburst, or acting aggressively

-Taking too many risks or doing things that could cause them harm

-Being jumpy or easily startled

The next first responder suicide may be closer to home than you think. I think it's worth the risk to ask a co-worker or family member if they're okay - and when they undoubtedly say "I'm fine" - ask them again but look them in the eye and tell them why you're asking. Give examples of the changes in behaviour that you've noticed. Tell them it's okay, and you will listen if/when they want to talk. Comfort will come from feeling accepted and engaged so offer to just hang out if they're not ready to talk. Here's a good article on how to help someone with PTSD from 



Real heroes don't have super powers or get paid millions to play sports. Real heroes risk their own physical and mental well being to save others.


The day we feel as comfortable reporting a mental injury as we do reporting a physical injury is the day this demon loses her power. Our employers must be equally ready to accept this and know how to react as the worker is to report it. 


103 firefighters died by suicide in 2017, compared to 93 firefighter line-of-duty deaths, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that fights for the rights of people with disabilities. The study also found that little has been done to address PTSD and depression in responders, even though they are five times more likely than civilians to suffer from symptoms.

I'm sure not all of these suicides are the result of work related mental injuries but I'm also sure that there were many other firefighter suicides that were not part of this study. In one survey of over 1,000 active and retired firefighters, nearly half of respondents stated that they had considered suicide, which is over three times the rate of the general population, and 16 percent had actually attempted suicide, as compared to 2–9 percent of the general population.

Most firefighters will study line of duty deaths to learn what went wrong, we'll listen to audio tapes of the call and train to prevent similar events from happening in the future. I wish as much energy was given to prevent firefighter suicides. When I first heard these stats I was blown away, why aren't we doing more to prevent these deaths? I know many departments have started mental health initiatives which is fantastic but I would think more would do the same after hearing these statistics.

I called this piece Sorry. Several first responders on the edge of taking their lives have told me that they don't wish to die, they don't want to leave their families but they feel suicide is their only option for peace. It's very sad and I wish more was being done for our brothers and sisters to prevent these tragic deaths. 

The In Between

EMS Women

When I have people come to my gallery they sometimes ask me why some of my images are so graphic. This question is almost always asked by a non-first responder. They assume I’m adding the trauma and gore for a gratuitous effect.

I explain to them that this is the reality of our job. I explain to them that what they see in my work is what I actually saw on that call and in many cases it was much worse. If you are a non-first responder looking at this image imagine what this scene was like before this suicidal patient was sedated. Imagine the noise this patient made while trying to scream without a jaw, imagine trying to keep your shit together as a medic trying to save this persons life.

There’s nothing gratuitous about this image, this is what we see and this is what we do…and we love it.

I also wanted to create another image for my EMS sisters who kick ass in this job and who are just as good and in many cases better than some men I know doing this job.

Stay safe everyone.



The Firefighter

Peaceful Mind

My mind is always racing. I try to keep it controlled but I often find it’s on its own thinking about seemingly random things. A Buddhist monk would say I have a ‘Monkey Mind’. It’s not so bad except for when I sleep. At night it’s no longer restrained by my conscious mind and it’s allowed to run amok. I rarely sleep well and often when I wake I’m overcome with a feeling of dread. Luckily I can’t remember but know in the evening my brain was overflowing with nightmares.

I’ve been told a mind that never stops is a common symptom creative people share, is that it? Then why the nightmares? Could this be a result of 15 years working on the ambulance? I’m curious if any other paramedics, fire fighters or police officers have this problem.

This image shows an angel telling a paramedic to just relax, it’s going to be okay, I’ve got your back. Chill the f*** out!

I crave solitude

I crave a peaceful mind

I crave a good nights sleep

I crave silence and peace of mind 

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