This is not an easy subject to write about. Throughout my 33-year fire-EMS career, I have seen too many of my brother and sister firefighters and paramedics commit suicide. Maybe someone you worked with committed suicide. It happened in St. Louis more than once during my 25-year career...
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A lot can be learned when you work with someone for long hours and you may be the only person he or she can talk to. Do not ignore what that person is saying to you. It may be even necessary to report it to a supervisor so professional intervention can be available for the person. It is important that firefighters and paramedics recognize when fellow professionals need help and do everything possible to get them that help.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He is chair of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), was appointed to the National EMS Advisory Council by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) EMS Standing Committee. Ludwig has a master's degree in business and management and is a licensed paramedic. He can be reached at www.garyludwig.com.