Fire EMS, Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting

Firefighter Behavioral Health: First Aid for Us

Issue 7 and Volume 169.

The mental and physical stressors associated with the ever-increasing number of emergency responses are taking their toll on the health and well-being of America’s firefighters. A combination of acute and cumulative occupational stressors as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has contributed to a silent subculture of depression, isolation, mental fatigue, and apathy, often resulting in senseless premature deaths by suicide. Health and wellness initiatives for firefighters have been developed through collaborative efforts by nationally recognized fire service organizations, but too few of these programs have been implemented at the local level. Risk Factors Firefighting has historically topped lists of the “most dangerous occupations,” and rightfully so. Firefighting involves a high level of physical toughness and mental preparedness, paired with high intensity and stressful situations that necessitate rapid recovery in a tactical response scenario, which is often immediately dangerous to life or health. Today, the roles and responsibilities of firefighters…

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