Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tucson Fire Department Fighting PTSD "Firefighters are normal people, too!"

Tucson Fire Department taking strides to ensure mental, physical health of troubled employees
Arizona Daily Star
By Caitlin Schmidt
May 13, 2017
“Firefighters are normal people, too, and people have stress in their lives. Those things are what we’re trying to deal with.” Assistant Chief Joe Gulotta.
Kelly Presnell Arizona Daily Star 2016
Tucson Fire Department offers first responders a medical plan that addresses post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues
For years, Tucson-area fire departments have been working with a local health-care program to create a comprehensive medical plan that addresses stress and mental health in first responders.

April was a difficult month for the Tucson Fire Department, with a murder-suicide perpetrated by one of its own taking place days before the sentencing of a former captain for three murders.

On April 15, Frederick Bair, a captain, shot and injured his ex-wife and fatally shot her friend at Firebirds restaurant at La Encantada. Bair killed himself in the incident. Days later, former Capt. David Watson was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his ex-wife, her mother and her mother’s friend.

Bair’s shocking act of violence hit department members hard. Firefighters and paramedics across the department were shaken by the incident. But it also affected Dr. Wayne Peate, who’d known Bair for decades.

“One of the things that firefighters do well is work as a team. I could see them grieving, but I could start to see the team forming to support those who needed help,” said Peate, who has worked as a doctor with the Tucson Fire Department since the 1990s and started a company that subcontracts with the Fire Department to provide health and wellness programs.
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