Archive for January 19th, 2018

The effect of repeated exposure trauma on firefighters

Excerpts from

 Many research studies have focused on firefighter mental health challenges due to a single traumatic event. But what about repeated exposure to such events? This article details findings from a research project1 that studied the impact of repeated exposure trauma (RET) on firefighters.Across the country, firefighters are responding to fewer fires but are increasingly called upon to provide Emergency Medical Services (EMS), perform search and rescue, and react to hazardous materials incidents and natural disasters. They come across a wide variety of tragic situations that play out in or around their homes, along highways, and in every other conceivable part of their communities.
RET — the cumulative effect of regularly caring for the broken bodies and wounded minds of victims and their families — is thought to have a negative psychological impact on firefighters’ own mental health. Previous studies have looked at firefighter mental health challenges in the context of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), which relies on assessment instruments attuned to one particular traumatic event.

Takeaways from previous studies

  • Evidence shows that rates of depression among fire and EMS personnel are higher than in the general population.
  • Firefighters have higher rates of alcohol use and binge drinking compared to the general population. There is a possible connection between risky drinking behaviors and PTSD.
  • Firefighters experience “secondary trauma” or “compassion fatigue” from repeated exposure to trauma. They may not be diagnosed with PTSD, but clearly suffer from symptoms such as sleep disorders, avoidance behaviors, and feelings of helplessness that are associated with PTSD.

Takeaways from this study

Firefighting and mental health: experiences of repeated exposure to trauma

  • It is more common for firefighters to experience a negative mental health impact from a series of traumatic events rather than from one single event.
  • Symptoms of RET for most firefighters include desensitization, irritability, cynicism and intrusive flashbacks.
  • Many firefighters appear to effectively manage their emotional response to trauma. Future research should explore their protective coping methods and resiliency.

The research article is available through our library by contacting Interested readers may be able to access the article through their local library or through the publisher’s website.

1 Jahnke, S. A., Poston, W. S., Haddock, C. K., & Murphy, B. (2016). Firefighting and mental health: Experiences of repeated exposure to trauma. Work, 53(4), 737-744. doi:10.3233/wor-162255

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New mobile command post for Rockford

Excerpts from

The Rockford City Council on Tuesday approved the purchase of a $374,500 mobile command vehicle that will be shared by the fire and police departments.

A large trailer, it will serve as a training and incident command post for the fire department when responding to large-scale emergencies or for training exercises. Police could use it during critical incidents or SWAT team deployments. It could be a shared command space in cases of a natural disaster or mass casualty incident, Rockford Fire Division Chief Matthew Knott said.

The vehicle is being bought from Lynch Diversified Vehicles of Burlington, Wisconsin. Funding is coming from a $250,000 Assistance to Firefighters grant, $25,000 from the fire department operations budget, and $100,000 from the police operating budget.

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New truck for Aurora

From the Fire Service, Inc. Facebook page:

Aurora FD Final Inspection at E-One.

new Aurora FD tower ladder

Fire Service, Inc. photo

thanks Ron

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New engine for Dolton

From the Interstate Emergency Vehicles Facebook page:

Thanks to the Village of Dolton Fire Department for their purchase of Rosenbauer’s Commander FX engine.

  • Rosenbauer Commander chassis 7011
  • FX 3/16″ aluminum body
  • Rosenbauer 1,500-gpm pump
  • 750 -gallon water
  • galvanized frame rails / subframe
  • Federal Signal LED lighting

click on the drawing to download a larger file

thanks Dennis


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