Fire Service Suicide Prevention Approach
Thursday, April 27, 2017: 1:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Suicide prevention awareness is the focus. Although suicide has been recognized as a problem in the fire service, no formal prevention or tracking mechanisms are in place. Several agencies have begun to establish guidelines for tracking suicide. Students are made aware of research findings relative to the causes of firefighter suicide and methods fire departments can take to help prevent suicide among their employees. In July 2011, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) held the first Fire Service Suicide and Depression Summit at which it was determined that no expert could determine how many firefighters die by suicide. Several fire departments, including the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), that have been affected by suicide have started researching prevention programs. One key finding of the CFD is that “suicide is one outcome of serious, internal struggles for an individual that may manifest for some time before he or she reaches the decision to die by suicide." (DeGryse, 2012) Among the objectives are to identify common causes of firefighter internal struggles and to encourage agencies to develop a program for recognizing signs that an employee may be prone to suicide and for intervening so that suicide is prevented.