Health & Safety

Firefighter Suicide: Do We Really Know What We Think We Know?

Issue 12 and Volume 172.

By Brandon Dreiman Firefighter suicide has been getting more attention in recent years. It is frequently associated with astronomically rising rates and a call to action to reduce this “epidemic.” Although the call to action is vital, it is worth considering whether the rate is actually rising to the extent put forth in the media. A realistic examination of what we do and do not know about firefighter suicide will challenge some commonly accepted beliefs about the suicide rate. Firefighter suicide is a serious issue, and the focus here is to ensure that we are discussing suicide accurately so that, if challenged, claims can be confidently defended. Eyebrow-raising statistics have a shock factor that demands attention; but if those statistics cannot withstand scrutiny, they lose their value, and the presenter loses credibility. Determining Rates Simply put, a rate is “a measure, quantity, or frequency, typically one measured against some other…

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