Friday, November 24, 2017

Firefighters Saving Lives, Except Their Own

East County Magazine
By Miriam Raftery
November 22, 2017 

Most are young or in the prime of life; 228 were between age 17 and 30, 265 were  age 31 to 40, 269 were age 41 to 50, and 190 were age 51 to 60.  Firefighters in their  60s and 70s accounted for 48 and 30 suicides respectively, and 49 were of unknown age. 

(San Diego’s East County) – Last year, 69 firefighters in the U.S. died in the line of duty, the National Fire Protection Association reports. But far more  -- 139 – took their own lives.
So far this year, 86 firefighters have been lost through suicide—including Cal Fire Captain Ryan Mitchell, who killed himself at the Pine Valley Bridge in San Diego’s East County earlier this month.
Jeff Dill, CEO and founder of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance ( , is determined to save firefighters’ lives  through special workshops designed by a firefighter, for a firefighter.
The workshops are offered to fire departments across the nation. They focus on behavioral health awareness, suicide prevention, and making resources available to help firefighters and their families.  
“Five years ago, no one was taking down these names and numbers,” says Dill,  a retired battalion chief who got his masters degree in counseling in Illinois and has since done research to compile data on firefighter suicides, then went on to create programs to help prevent such tragedies.
Since 1880, when the earliest known suicide occurred (a fire chief in Auburn, New York), at least 1,078 firefighters have killed themselves.  Sixty of those deaths were in California, the fifth highest rate in the nation after Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York, the FFBHA reports.
read more here

In 2008, I received and award from the IFO for my work as a Chaplain. That was topped off only by hearing this video, intended for National Guard and Reservists, was helping police officers and firefighters.

When we can understand regular folks surviving trauma, it shouldn't be hard to understand when someone risks their lives on a daily basis to end up suffering for what they are willing to do for the rest of us.

They wouldn't be wounded if they didn't care enough to endure all of it for our sake!