Firefighters' Mental Health

This drill is compliant with and supports the Safety Initiatives developed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. TOPIC: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES TIME REQUIRED: TWO HOURS MATERIALS: APPROPRIATE AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS...

          these needs and ensure complete confidentiality, an EAP often includes outside contract

          counselors to provide services

      c. Officers must be aware of symptoms of alcoholism, drug abuse, and other types of abuse in

          order to provide direction and care as soon as possible

      d. Effectiveness of EAP cannot be denied

          1) Studies indicate that as many as 80% of those individuals who receive counseling return to full

              productive status with workforce

          2) EAPs can reduce cost of prolonged medical care and lost-time benefits

       e. Standard provides for assistance to immediate family members through EAP

  2. Substance Abuse

       a. It is estimated that over a quarter of population over 25 years of age were smoking in 1990

       b. Smoking results in loss of an estimated 400,000 lives in US every year

           1) Lung cancer

           2) Cardiovascular disease

           3) Chronic obstructive lung cancer

      c. According to American Lung Association, smoking costs nation approximately $65 billion per

          year in health care and lost productivity

      d. Add result of using smokeless tobacco products (mouth cancer, gum infections, tooth decay,

          and lowered sense of taste and smell) and problem takes on greater magnitude

      e. Fire service loses approximately 1,800 members per year from smoking

      f. Because firefighters are exposed to unburned products of combustion resulting in chronic lung

         disease and loss of lung function, they are already at risk

      g. Studies indicate that firefighters who smoke have higher level of risk from heart and lung diseases

          than do firefighters who do not smoke

      h. Smoking results in lowered lung capacity and shortness of breath

      i. Drug and alcohol abuse can have even a more widespread effect on health of firefighters than


      j. Because drug and alcohol impair judgment and slow reaction times, their impacts are not only on

         individual but also on those around them

      k. USFA estimates that as many as 10% of firefighters may be abusing drugs

      l. IAFF estimates that 75% of total firefighter population in U.S. has used either drugs or alcohol

      m. To offset potential danger of this type of abuse, fire department must establish a written policy

           within EAP

  3. Counseling

      a. EAP outlined department policy should have ability to provide a wide range of counseling

          services for both employee and family

          1) Smoking cessation and substance abuse assistance

          2) Domestic violence

          3) Child abuse

          4) Family and financial counseling

       b. Success of program depends on

          1) Quality of services offered

          2) Support of administration

          3) Involvement of members

          4) Confidentiality of all services

      c. Counseling may include the sue of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) following a

          particular incident or one-on-one counseling using department, governmental, or private


     d. Counseling should be provided not only to the firefighter but to others affected including family

         members because issues in the department may carry over into the home or issues in the home

         may affect the depa




   * Mental Health Issues

   * Recognition of Symptoms

   * Corrective Action Options

REMOTIVATION: Everyone needs to understand the importance of a healthy mind and body and be willing to recognize when something is not healthy.