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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"It's Not Easy" - Firefighter/Medic Suicide Prevention - New Material from NFFF

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO


The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) released this information today.

Suicides are preventable: Reaching out to those most vulnerable
NFFF issues new report to address suicide among firefighters

Did you know a fire department is three times more likely in any given year to experience a suicide among its membership than a line-of-duty death? Fortunately, suicide is preventable and help is available. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) has made suicide research and awareness a priority and released a new report, Confronting Suicide in the Fire Service: Strategies for Intervention & Prevention to address the growing issue and need for further research and funding.

A summary of the report, which you are welcome to use and share, is available here:  

You can also read the full report and share the link.

Original PGFD Article

I sometimes add a statement to a news release that would indicate some experiences of firefighter/medics "are not easy."  My hope is that the public and our personnel recognize that it is okay to see and feel the vulnerability of our personnel after witnessing what no human should ever have to witness or experience and there is a personal impact on us.  "It's not easy" and we must learn to cope with incidents from the most challenging to the simplest of incidents.  Incidents affect each one of us individually and need to learn on how to handle our feelings.  Is the coffee table critique enough?  Do you share your feelings with co-workers??

Prince George's County Fire/EMS (PGFD) Safety Battalion Chief Sayshan L. Conver-White stated, "Firefighter suicide may seem like a taboo topic for some, but if it saves even one life, it's worth talking about. This recent release from Firefighter Closecalls (below) has some excellent resource material that can be used as a conversation starter. Take the time now to remind your crews of the various resources that are available to them, and their family members."  She concluded, "Let's talk about it...you may save a life."

Teresa A. Meunier, PGFD Office of Risk Management, added, "It is important to remember that if you are in a crisis and need immediate assistance, you should contact a mental health professional such as the Fire/EMS Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor at (301) 883-6270, or, the County’s EAP program, (APS Healthcare), at 1-(877) 334-0530."

Meunier added, "Fire/EMS Stations should post the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number,  1-800-273-TALK, and firefighter/medics should know when to use or encourage others to use this number. You can also visit the following website for very valuable information that may help you to recognize warning signs of suicide in yourself and others." 

 Many thanks to Chief Billy Goldfeder for compiling this list of valuable information.  As Battalion Chief Conver-White stated, "Let's talk about it...you may save a life."
Out of respect to the families and members of those affected, we won't share names or the departments-but once again, two of "our own" have taken their lives in just the last few days, One FF in South Florida and the other in the Tampa Bay area.
In addition to the "awareness" of the two losses, we wanted to share
the leadership shown
by a Chief of Department:

It is with deep regret that I must inform you of the untimely death of Firefighter who took her own life this morning.  Words cannot express the profound sadness that we all feel.  I am at a loss as to how to make sense of her death, many of you have expressed the same sentiment.   We may never have an explanation that makes sense to us.  I have no words to offer that will make this right, or even bearable.  I can only say that I am both saddened and sorry that she did not feel like she had another option.  Our grief cannot compare to what Toni's family is going through so I ask you to pray for those she loved..  These next few weeks will be trying for everyone.  Look out for each other and please reach out if you need to talk.  Take care of each other. 

Suicide continues to be a constant in the profession of fire, rescue and EMS. Please take time to review these links-and have the info on hand.











Take Care. be Careful. Pass It On.
The Secret List 11/20/2014-1700 Hours

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