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As a chief, one of the best preventative measures is to create an organization that cares.This includes how each member treats one another, how the members treat the public, providing good training and tools, equipment and apparatus to perform our jobs and having solid systems in place when work must be performed (incident command system, operating guidelines, accountability, etc.).Educating department members on behavioral health and where to turn for help is also a big component in regards to prevention and early intervention.Actions that can be taken and should be added to the organization include implementing the components recommended in support of Life Safety Initiative 13.
One spurned wife branded the phenomenon the fire department's "dirty little secret".This program teaches basic skills to help us make people feel that they are cared for and respected.It establishes the groundwork for the to help fire service members care for their own in times of stress. It is a process that monitors the recovery of fire service personnel and identifies those in need of intervention. It is designed to be administered three to four weeks after an event takes place to determine if an individual requires additional help.Firefighters are a unique breed as they not only have to deal with the same issues as society in general, but also the fact that they are exposed to events that involve trauma, death and loss on a regular basis throughout their career.Being exposed to these events can have an effect on an individual over time and can compound significantly if they are not handled properly.