Phoenix FD Launches Crisis Line to Help Prevent Suicides

A rash of firefighter suicides in Arizona's largest city led officials to create a task force to tackle the problem, and now it is taking action.

The Phoenix Fire Department has joined forces with the Crisis Response Network in Maricopa County to create a crisis help line exclusively for firefighters, according to KNXV.

"Every day they have to go into stressful and sometimes very dangerous situations," Suzanne Rabideau, CEO of the Crisis Response Network, told the news station. "They may need extra support in dealing with those kinds of situations -- both the firefighters and their families."

The phone line -- 602-845-FIRE -- is available to all fire service members and their families in the surrounding area at all hours.

The line is not affiliated with the department or the fire union.

"For this day to finally be here, where we have something for our members that's independent of the fire department, it's huge," Phoenix Firefighter John Prato said. "We really want to show our members that it's important to take care of these things."

The department created the task force Prato last year after four firefighters killed themselves in a span of seven months.

Members of the fire department created a training video for the Crisis Response Network staff that explains the culture of the fire service and why calls from responders require specialized attention.

A similar phone line for police is currently in the works.