Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Strategies for Preventing Suicides in the Fire Service

Issue 12 and Volume 169.

By Dena M. Ali In recent years, suicide has come to be recognized as a growing problem in the fire service. In July 2011, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) held the first fire service suicide and depression summit. Most people at the conference recognized suicide as a problem in the fire service and even knew members who had taken their lives, but there were no statistics on how many firefighters die by suicide each year or data that could help the fire service to assess the suicide situation or to prevent suicide among its members. Several fire departments have been affected by suicide and, consequently, have started researching prevention programs. The Chicago (IL) Fire Department (CFD), for example, suffered seven firefighter suicides in an 18-month period and is ahead of the curve with suicide prevention research and strategies. One of its key findings is that “suicide is one outcome…

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