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Take This Survey and Save a Life (Maybe Your Own)!
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 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.
To take the survey, go to http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22FRTGD9LYG.
Firehouse Gives Back
When our very own Editor-in-Chief Harvey Eisner set out to publish his book, WTC: In Their Own Words, he was determined to give something back. Eisner designated four charities who would receive a portion of the proceeds: The FDNY Foundation; the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation; the UFA Thomas R Elsasser Fund; and the Wounded Warrior Project. The book raised $32,200 for the charities (to be split equally amongst the four groups). In April, Eisner personally delivered a check for $8,050 to Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).
Walking For a Cure (and a Special Little Girl)
Ariana Davis is 10 years old and the daughter of Assistant Chief Shawn Davis of the Ridge (NY) Fire Department. Ariana was diagnosed with Juvenile Scoliosis when she was 5, asthma when she was 6 and Bronchiectasis at 8. Though unconfirmed at this point, she also shows all the signs of having Cystic Fibrosis. Ariana’s doctors, in fact, have told the family to treat her symptoms as if she had CF.
With all of this on her, Ariana never stops to ask “why me?” Instead, she wants to help others like her. When she found out that the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (who treats her Scoliosis) raises money by collecting the pop tops of soft drink cans, Ariana delivered more than 150 pounds. When she heard the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation conducts the Great Strides Walk for a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis each year, she knew she had to walk. Last year, was her first walk and she raised about $3,500. But it was what happened at the walk that made the day so special.
Fifteen members of the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department showed up in full gear to make the three-mile walk with Ariana. At the one-mile mark, Ariana got tired and her breathing got difficult, but that did not stop the firefighters. They told Ariana that they would finish the last two miles for her, and they did just that.
When this year’s walk came around, the firefighters of Ridge came out again and walked along with Ariana. The Ridge Fire Department, along with the Holtsville (NY) Fire Department worked together to set up a ladder arch with a big American Flag for all the walkers to walk under.