The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) has created a behavioral health podcast series, “Checking In: A Behavioral Health Size-Up” to help firefighters, their families and health-care providers better understand the behavioral health challenges and needs of firefighters. The podcast, hosted and produced by retired firefighter Craig Luecke, supports and encourages awareness of Firefighter Life Safety Initiative 13 which states: Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.
“This podcast series provides a unique opportunity to learn from the leading experts in behavioral health, clinicians who work with firefighters every day and fire chiefs who actively support behavioral health programs in their departments,” says Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director of the NFFF. “Each podcast offers perspectives and strategies that can be applied to fire departments taking into consideration limitations to available resources.”
“If you repeatedly respond to people on their very worst day, you are going to need a different level of support,” says Vickie Taylor, Director of the Prince William County (VA) Public Safety Resilience Program Counseling Unit and one of the subject matter experts for the podcast series.
Patricia Watson, PhD, of the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder believes the podcasts will be useful for firefighters, their loved ones and those who are interested in emergency services. “We know that emergency service cultures are very different from other jobs,” explains Watson. “We’re trying to aim this (podcast series) to be practical. To speak to people who either want to know things for themselves or who want to be that person who reaches out and lends a helping hand to someone who seems to be struggling.”
The podcasts can be used to generate discussion at the firehouse kitchen table and to promote use of other resources created by NFFF such as the Fire Hero Learning Network. Victor Stagnaro, Director of Fire Service Programs for NFFF says, “The entire podcast series can be listened to in its totality or listeners can select the episodes that best address their role in their agencies.” The topics of the episodes include the series introduction, leadership, firefighter training, peer support training and clinical support. To listen to the podcasts, download them on iTunes or on Google Play or find them on our website at: www.everyonegoeshome.com/resources/podcasts/.
“Checking In: A Behavioral Health Size Up” podcast series is produced by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Fire Prevention and Safety Award Program. For more information about NFFF, please visit www.everyonegoeshome.com or www.firehero.org.