Every firefighter takes an oath to save lives and be there for our communities … helping people on their worst day. While this service is what firefighters are called to do, the accumulation of all those “worst days” takes its toll on even the strongest of us.
Answering the call of duty took on a new meaning this past year. Firefighters were on the front lines addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they stood up to an epic wildfire season. These pressures add to the already overwhelming stress firefighters face every day on the job.
Firefighter behavioral health remains the biggest health and safety challenge facing our profession. Our members continue to die at their own hand in greater numbers than in traumatic line-of-duty deaths. We can’t put mental health on the backburner, and we can’t succumb to the stigma that causes so many to suffer in silence.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and once again the California Fire Service Behavioral Health Task Force is urging all fire departments to unite for a Behavioral Health and Suicide Awareness Stand Down.
From May 17th through the 21st, California Professional Firefighters, California Fire Chiefs Association, Cal-OES and the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee urge all agencies to set aside time to conduct exercises and initiate a conversation on mental wellness.
The Behavioral Health Task Force will be providing both print and digital materials in the coming weeks to help you get the conversation started. Preventing suicide in the fire service starts with each and every one of us checking in on our own, having the uncomfortable conversations and opening the door to breaking the stigma that speaking up is a weakness.
We must unite as a fire service to address this challenge – the lives and health of our firefighters depends on it. May 17th through the 21st, let’s work together to bring the darkness to light. Firefighter specific resources are always available at healingourown.org. #healingourown ... See MoreSee Less
UFLAC, LAFD, AND STEVENS NATION JOIN FORCES TO SUPPORT ALS AWARENESS
UFLAC, LAFD, and Stevens Nation have joined forces to promote and support ALS Awareness during the month of May. As you know, we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and participate in “Movember” during “No Shave November” to bring awareness to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Now it is time to raise awareness for all those diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), including one of our own Firefighters, Eric Stevens.