FFD PEER SUPPORT TEAM
The FFD Peer Support Team was created to provide employees with psychological and emotional support through multidisciplinary services during times of personal and professional crisis.
The department has taken another step in promoting the health and wellness of our employees by implementing a program that supports emotional well-being. Just as some of us struggle with physical ailments that limit our abilities, many suffer from psychological issues that prevent them from being their best. Though it’s relatively new science to us, much evidence exists that shows untreated emotional and behavioral ailments do not self-correct. This doesn’t mean we need medical treatment for every case, though sometimes we do. Our biggest enemy is the culture that draws us into the profession, is the same one that prohibits us from asking for help. To save the world, we must first save ourselves.
This in-house counseling service does not replace the Chaplaincy program or EAP but supplants both. We are committed to ensuring that no one gets left behind. This is also another example where we listen. This idea was recommended during the discussions following the employee surveys and subsequent committee meetings.
Traces of this team and its foundation can be traced back to the Firefighter Life Safety Summit that occurred in Tampa, Florida in March 2004. From this summit, the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives were developed. The thirteenth initiative relates directly to our team, which states that firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support. Today we have evidence of this with benefits to the department such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and assistance provided by our Chaplin’s Corps.
It is not the intention of having the Peer Support Team established to take away or remove these other resources, but to provide another means of support our members. There have been studies, with one specifically in North Carolina, that show a comparison between line-of-duty deaths and suicides. The findings show that suicides occur more than three times as often than line-of-duty deaths. This issue has been referred to as a silent killer in the fire service. The Team’s ultimate goal is to provide an additional resource for anyone seeking support when confronted with the stressors from the job, external stressors of everyday life, or a combination of the two. With any fire department, the most important asset to an organization is the firefighters themselves.
To contact the peer support team, please send an email to FFDPeerSupport@ci.fay.nc.us
North Carolina Peer Support Team
|Autry, Michael||Battalion Chief||Fire/Emergency Management||(910) 433-1740||MAutry@ci.fay.nc.us|