Firefighter Behavioral Health: Protecting Our Own Resource Center
Firefighters are fantastic problem solvers; the public calls on us to manage every crisis imaginable. Part of being a firefighter includes exposure to traumatic events. Quite simply – bad runs happen. Firefighters are regular people. They have families, homes, bills to pay, and people to answer to outside of the fire house. Put all this together and, as a profession, it's no wonder why firefighters have higher rates of divorce, alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicide than civilians.
Under a grant from the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs has developed this web page with resources and tips for what you and your department can and should do to protect the physical and mental well being of your members. Keeping firefighters happy and protecting our own is an inside job!
For information on hosting a Firefighter Behavior Health: Protecting Our Own Workshop, email NYSAFC Grants Administrator Sue Syzdek.
- NYSAFC Behavioral Health Poster
- Firefighter Behavioral Health: "Protecting Our Own" PowerPoint Presentation (9.8MB) (developed and presented across New York state by NYSAFC Past Director Mike McEvoy)
- Firefighter Behavioral Health: Protecting Our Own Resource Material
- From EAP to BHAP – A Guide for Fire Departments (considerations for selecting an Employee Assistance Program or Behavioral Health Assistance Program)
- After Action Review Poster from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (recommended “hot wash” to be conducted after EVERY run)
- CDC Guide for Responders and Families (following a potentially traumatic event)
- Trauma Screening Questionnaire (for use in assessing whether you or a fellow member might need additional assistance following a potentially traumatic event)
If you or a fellow firefighter feel suicidal or need help now for any reason, contact Safe Call Now at (206) 459-3020 or visit www.safecallnow.org. Do not delay!
Links to Additional Firefighter Behavioral Health Resources:
- National Fallen Firefighters Behavioral Health Resource Library
- Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives: 13. Psychological Support
- CDC/NIOSH Traumatic Incident Stress Resources
- Psychological First Aid: Complete Field Operations Guide
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Review of Interventions to Prevent PTSD
- Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Post Traumatic Stress
- VA/Department of Defense Resources for Post Traumatic Stress and Acute Stress
- New York State Public Employees EAP (some useful resources)
- AfterDeployment.org (wellness resources for the military community)
- Firefighter Survival "Beyond The Call" Video (Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)
- Share the Load Program – National Volunteer Fire Council
- North American Firefighter Veteran Network
Suicide in the Fire Service:
- Confronting Suicide in the Fire Service (Report and Recommendations from NFFF)
- Suicide: What You Need to Know – A Guide for Fire Chiefs (NFFF)
- Suicide in the Fire Service (USFA Resource Center)
Links for EAP and Professional Counselors:
- Helping Heroes (web-based training for providers working with firefighters)