Members of the fire and emergency services regularly respond to traumatic events and face a variety of daily stressors that can have lasting effects on their mental and emotional well-being. Tragically, some first responders do not receive the help that they need to adequately deal with these issues and decide to take their own life.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is conducting a survey to measure behavioral health issues facing firefighters and emergency responders. Participation from the fire and emergency services community is critical to accurately assess the prevalence of these issues and develop programs and resources that can help.
“It is unacceptable that we lose firefighters, emergency medical, and rescue personnel to suicide,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “We, as the fire service community, have an obligation to help each other and provide the appropriate assistance to first responders in need by aggressively addressing this issue. The data collected from this survey will help to build the programs and initiatives that can create awareness of behavioral health concerns and prevent the tragedy of suicide.”
The data collected from the survey will be analyzed by HOPE Health Research Institute and used in a report highlighting suicide and other behavioral health challenges within the fire and emergency services. The NVFC is working with Jeff Dill, founder of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA), to author the report, which will provide essential information on suicide prevention and awareness.
The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete and is anonymous. No information is gathered that will in any way identify the respondent. All firefighters and emergency medical personnel are invited to participate in the survey to help in this groundbreaking firefighter behavioral health initiative.
About the NVFC
The National Volunteer Fire Council is the leading nonprofit membership association representing the interests of the volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue services. The NVFC serves as the voice of the volunteer in the national arena and provides invaluable tools, resources, programs, and advocacy for first responders across the nation.
About FBHA and Jeff Dill
The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance was established to directly educate firefighters, EMS personnel, and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, addictions, and firefighter suicides. FBHA works closely with public safety and is currently partnered with Safe Call Now to promote fire and police behavioral health training across the United States. FBHA also attempts to collect firefighter suicide case information. If you know of a firefighter suicide and would like to submit information, please fill out their form. FBHA founder Jeff Dill holds a Master’s degree and is a Licensed Counselor, as well as a Battalion Chief at Palatine Rural Fire Protection District (IL).
About HOPE Health Research Institute
HOPE Health Research Institute has done extensive research on fire service health and wellness issues. HOPE HRI Scientists are experts in methodology and statistical analysis who are keenly aware of the special needs of scientists and academicians. They have conducted research in areas such as tobacco control, physical activity and fitness, obesity epidemiology and treatment, dietary interventions, community health interventions, and cardiovascular outcomes.
NVFC Press Release