For Immediate Release
Contact: Adam Mayberry
Reno, Nev. February 28, 2019. The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is supporting endeavors by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Truckee Meadows Firefighters Association IAFF 2487 in developing a peer support program that will benefit many fire agencies in northern Nevada. Training for the program took place in February, and will continue in March.
Attendees from fire agencies across northern Nevada to include Truckee Meadows Fire, City of Reno, City of Sparks, City of Elko, Carson City, East Fork Fire, Central Lyon County Fire, and North Lake Tahoe Fire will convene March 5 and 6 for peer support training. Fire agencies from other states will also be in attendance (CA, OR, MT, MI).
The stresses faced by firefighters and paramedics throughout their careers – tragedies such as the events of September 11, 2001, the Boston Marathon bombing, and everyday emergencies such as house fires and car accidents – can have a cumulative impact on their mental health and well-being. Our local region has experienced its share of tragedies involving first responders to include the Reno Air Race crash and Carson City IHOP shooting, both in 2011. Unexpectedly gruesome sights, mass causalities or loss of friends can severely traumatize fire personnel.
In the past, the general culture of the fire service has made it difficult for firefighters to seek emotional support. In one study, 92 percent of firefighters said that stigma was a barrier to behavioral health treatment.
Peer support programs have been demonstrated to be an effective method for providing support to occupational groups, including firefighters. An active peer support program that includes firefighters from across the region will help to create a support network for the mental and physical health of our first responders, with trained assistance. Strong mental health translates to improved public service.
Approximately 20 percent of firefighters and paramedics have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can have devastating consequences if untreated and is often associated with other behavioral health problems, such as depression, substance abuse, family dysfunction, violence and increased risk of suicide.
WHAT: Peer Support Training for Firefighters
WHEN: March 5-6, 2019, (Tuesday and Wednesday) 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Regional Public Safety Training Center, 5190 Spectrum Boulevard, Reno, NV