Eastside Fire and Rescue focuses on mental health for Fire Safety Week

Eastside Fire and Rescue observes International Fire/EMS Safety Week this week, through June 22.

This year’s theme, “Saving Our Own…An Inside Job,” focuses on the need for greater mental and emotional health efforts.

According to EFR, behavioral health issues often go undetected.  Suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death among caucasian men ages 35-50; it is the second leading cause of death among caucasian men ages 20-34. These are the two demographic groups in which most U.S. firefighters fall.  The external pressure of everyday life, and the inherent stresses of public safety in general can lead to behavioral health issues in the fire service.

To help combat some of these issues, EFR's Training Division will focus on delivering online training. Topics include:

• Rules of Engagement for Firefighter Health

• Psychological First Aid for First Responders – tips for emergency and disaster response workers

• Safe Call Now – a confidential resource for public safety employees

• Research document - Suicide Surveillance, Prevention, and Intervention

• International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) – safety, health, and survival

Prevention and early intervention related to traumatic stress and other related life pressures that can impact behavioral health of first responders is key.  Firefighters with EF&R will be meeting over several days to discuss the critical importance of physical and emotional health, and ways responders can take care of themselves both on and off the emergency incident scene.

In addition, the Agency has an existing peer support group in place for assisting in the area of response to critical incidents.  The small group of committed members has received training and recognition of behavioral health issues inherent to emergency services.

• Learn more at


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