As with other members of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the Safety, Health and Survival (SHS) Section mourns the tragic loss of life perpetrated in Uvalde, TX. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the victims, the first responders who heroically responded to the scene, and the entire community.
As firefighters we are called to these horrific events to provide care and assistance to the victims as well as brother and sister first responders. The emotional and psychological toll exacted on responding public safety team members cannot be understated and must be acknowledged with concurrent action. Peer-support, as well as professional trauma and grief counselling for first responders with both out-patient and in-patient resources, if necessary, must be part of any post-incident care for our members.
Behavioral health resources are a vital component to the resiliency and sustainability of our members and our fire departments. Our ability to continue to provide assistance to our communities is predicated on how well we maintain the full-spectrum health of our first responders. SHSS stands ready to assist the first responders of Uvalde, TX, and any such tragedy, to identify and secure the necessary resources to support the long-term mental health of first responders across the US and Canada. The following links are just some of the resources available for you to address the mental health needs of your responders.
- All Secure Foundation: All Secure Foundation assists special operations active duty and combat veterans, and their families, in recovery of post-traumatic stress.
- American Addiction Centers or 888-300-3332: Provides first responders and their families with a toll-free, confidential phone line for immediate assistance with issues like substance abuse, stress, relationship problems, work-related concerns, and virtually anything disrupting a member’s work life and overall wellness.
- American Counseling Association
- Chaplain Programs
- Counseling Service for Firefighters
- Fire Hero Learning Network class Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS Personnel
- Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance
- FRCE Behavioral Health Resources
- International Association of Firefighters Center of Excellence
- International Association of Firefighters
- National Fallen Firefighters Foundation: Refer to their Everybody Goes Home Program and their 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.
- Life Safety Initiative #13 is the Psychological Support Initiative which states “Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.”
- National Programs on Suicide or 1-800-SUICIDE
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
- National Volunteer Fire Council: Access free online trainings and resources focusing on behavioral health issues.
- Next Rung:
- Peer Support Help Line: Text SUPPORT To 1-833-698-7864
- Resources For Professional Counseling : Text COUNSELING To 1-833-698-7864
- Resources for Professional Treatment Against Addiction: Text TREATMENT to 1-833-698-7864
- Safe Call Now or 1-206-459-3020: Safe Call Now offers a crisis referral program for police officers and firefighters experiencing mental health issues or other personal problems.
- Suicide in the Fire and Emergency Services Report
- THE EMOTIONAL CLOSE CALLS
- Warriors Research Institute, WRI@BSWHealth.org, or 254-716-6208: Provides confidential, one-on-one, mental health treatment via live video calls to Veterans and their family members.