Showing posts with label firefighters and PTSD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label firefighters and PTSD. Show all posts

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Firefighter gets justice after being fired for seeking help to heal #PTSD

Frisco firefighter fired while on medical leave wins workers' comp case

Dallas Morning News
By Susan McFarland
October 14, 2023

After the case was heard by the Texas Department of Insurance, a judge ordered the city of Frisco to pay back lost income.

Cameron Kraemer, a firefighter who worked for the city of Frisco for 27 years and was fired while on medical leave, won his workers’ compensation case before the Texas Department of Insurance, and now the city must pay accrued unpaid income with interest, according to the Frisco Fire Fighters Association.

Kraemer, an assistant fire chief, was in the midst of a workers’ compensation appeal for PTSD when, on May 1, Frisco fired him.

He was undergoing treatment for long-term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition he has been dealing with since 2020 and has been getting medical help for.
read more here

Thursday, February 2, 2023

The late Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department may still save lives

TN lawmakers name act after firefighter who died after long PTSD battle

FOX 17 Nashville
by Sydney Keller
Monday, January 30th, 2023

"We can’t legislate away traumatic accidents and emergencies, but we can remove obstacles to getting support when firefighters need it. Addressing the crisis of PTSD and suicide in the fire service requires a commitment to both prevention and treatment from all stakeholders and that’s what SB856 aims to do."

Two Tennessee Republican lawmakers filed an act Monday which aims at providing support for firefighters who are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

State Sen. Paul Bailey (R-Sparta) and Rep. Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville) filed the James ‘Dustin’ Samples Act in honor of Captain James ‘Dustin’ Samples of the Cleveland Fire Department who sadly committed suicide in 2020 after a long-time battle with PTSD.

Sen. Bailey says that lawmakers owe it to firefighters and those who work to save lives to do all they can to prevent any risk of injury on the job.
read more here

Friday, November 19, 2021

When will Canada take PTSD in firefighters seriously?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 19, 2021

We are killing ourselves through suicide was the headline by Shannon Pennington ex IAFF Calgary, Executive Director, NAFFVN. It was something he wrote July 11, 2011 and I posted. I reposted it because of this newspaper article. Ontario plan to help first responders deal with PTSD. "Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says the stress and danger faced by police, firefighters and paramedics can have a lasting and serious effect not only on their physical health, but their mental health as well.Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says the stress and danger faced by police, firefighters and paramedics can have a lasting and serious effect not only on their physical health, but their mental health as well."

So why bring it up again? Because apparently not much has changed.

WARMINGTON: Even firefighters off with PTSD face unpaid leave and firing without jabs

The City of Toronto has told off-work firefighters with post-traumatic stress or other on-the-job injuries that until they are vaccinated, they are cut off from their worker’s compensation insurance payments. the Toronto Sun has learned.

For several firefighters, this was a “punch in the gut” they did not need.

“I went off on PTSD prior to the mandate,” said one. “I have been informed by the WSIB that the city contacted them to tell them they will not be paying me … This despite being diagnosed by a WSIB psychologist.”

Another firefighter said he’s been struggling ever since he wasn’t able to revive a patient.

“I wake up in a sweat every night,” said the firefighter.

This is when they are in need of compassion. Not cancellation. Firefighters who received this ultimatum to get vaccinated or not be able to feed their families say they were stunned by the correspondence on City of Toronto letterhead that has Acting Fire Chief and General Manager Jim Jessop’s name at the top and is CC’d to Payroll, Human Resources Consultant (Disability Management) at the bottom.
Read more on the Toronto Sun

Don't get me wrong here because I am all for getting vaccinated. I am looking forward to getting my third shot because of all the people out there who won't even get one, or wear a mask, or do anything else because they don't believe it. Forcing them to decide what they will do, is a no brainer. They have to pick one, like get vaccinated, wear a mask, stop acting like there is nothing to worry about, or get tested once a week on their dime. Forcing firefighters out of work because their jobs gave them PTSD is stupid! They can't work, so the rule should not apply to them. Are they trying to make it worse for them?

Friday, September 10, 2021

Responders to Twin Towers still paying the price

2/3 of FDNY firefighters, EMTs who worked at WTC site have long-term illness: Report

ABC 7 News
By Eyewitness News
September 7, 2021
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Twenty years after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, more than two-thirds of New York City firefighters and EMTs who responded to the World Trade Center that day or worked on the pile of toxic wreckage have some kind of long-term illness, according to the latest snapshot of FDNY health released Wednesday.

Nearly 16,000 FDNY members were exposed to dust, particulates, noxious gases, chemicals, and fibers while working for more than 10 months in the rescue and recovery effort.

More than 11,300 of them have been diagnosed and certified with at least one WTC-covered condition for physical or mental health, from asthma and reflux to PTSD and cancer, the report from the FDNY World Trade Center Health Program said.

"This intense environmental exposure is directly related to many of the symptoms and illnesses," the report said.
read more here 

'Eyewitness to 9/11: Behind the Lens' reveals untold stories, rare video of America's darkest day

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we hear from the Eyewitness News journalists who were there, in the streets, in the air, and in the newsroom, reporting on the events as the tragedy unfolded, capturing the unforgettable video of that day, and risking their lives to tell the world what was happening.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Firefighters don’t just fight fire

Firefighter helps veteran suffering from PTSD episode on airplane
FOX News
Michael Hollan
The firefighter is part of a specially trained support team that helps other firefighters deal with tragedy and PTSD. Capt. Davidson used his training to keep the other veteran calm and the plane was able to land without diverting its course.
Captain Bobby Davidson, who was flying home with his family from vacation, rendered assistance to the passenger and was able to prevent an emergency landing. (Burton Fire District)

Firefighters don’t just fight fire.

The captain of a South Carolina fire department helped calm a fellow airplane passenger down who was in distress. According to reports, the other passenger was a veteran who was suffering from a PTSD crisis.

Captain Bobby Davidson, who was flying home on an American Airlines flight from a family vacation on June 15th, rendered assistance to the passenger and was able to prevent an emergency landing, according to a Facebook post from the Burton Fire District. The firefighter was also able to keep other passengers calm during the ordeal.

The Burton Fire Department confirmed to Fox News that the other passenger is a military veteran and was experiencing a PTSD crisis. While the flight crew was concerned that the plane may need to make an emergency landing, Capt. Davidson stepped in to help.
read more here

Find new posts for PTSD Patrol here

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Officials told us there is not a way to track PTSD and suicide rates, and that services for these first responders are scarce.

Senator Jackie Rosen Visits Fire Station To Talk About HERO Act

KTVN 2 News
by Bryan Hofmann
February 18th 2020
"We don't want to secondarily traumatize our spouses or our children with the stories of the things that we see, which makes hard to offload," said Reid. "If we can get some help from the senators office, that would be a great assistance to us not watching our brothers and sisters take their own lives."

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is often talked about when it comes to members of the armed forces, but it also affects others -- like first responders.

Senator Jackie Rosen introduced a bill to extend assistance to first responders ahead of touring a firehouse today and speaking with local officials. First responders usually see people on their most traumatic days, and often carry that memory with them. Officials told us there is not a way to track PTSD and suicide rates, and that services for these first responders are scarce.
"We have had more suicides in the fire service than line of duty deaths," said Derek Reid, Fire Captain with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

That isn’t even taking into account the full scale of PTSD and suicide rates for firefighters. 100 percent of deaths in the line of duty are recorded, but suicide numbers are not always put on the record.

“We are receiving about 30 to 40 percent of confirmed cases of suicide within the fire service, so we are not even capturing all the data to get the true number of what the suicide rate is within the firefighter community," said Reid.
read it here

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

To avoid hiring someone with PTSD because of the jobs they took to save lives, is reprehensible, as well as stupid.


Civilian woman with PTSD hired then fired because of PTSD

City of Fargo approves settlement agreement in discrimination suit filed by former firefighter

by Don Haney
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
He claimed in his federal lawsuit, his disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, was revealed during one of his appeals to the city and he was unable to find a permanent job after that information was made public.
Scott Kelsh Photo: KFGO News
FARGO, N.D. (KFGO) - A settlement agreement has been approved on a unanimous vote by the Fargo City Commission, awarding a former Fargo firefighter and state lawmaker $63,000 in a discrimination lawsuit.
read it here

Why are employers still avoiding the elephant in the room?

Facts seem to be missing in the decision to hire people known to have PTSD. In the case of Scott Kelsh, his PTSD was known, although not by his own decision. Yet, with over 7 million Americans with PTSD, companies do not know if the person they are interviewing...or already working for them, have PTSD or not.

To avoid hiring someone with PTSD is impossible. To avoid hiring someone with PTSD because of the jobs they took to save lives, is reprehensible, as well as stupid.

Imagine having someone who proved they know what hard work is. Imagine them being so mission focused they understood the ramifications of being distracted. Imagine turning someone like that away, to hire someone you assume is fine and then discover they have PTSD too.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Wounded by PTSD as Combat Medic, wounded again as firefighter, Ryan Mains fights so others can heal

Ryan Mains served others as an Army medic and a Woodstock firefighter. Now grappling with PTSD, he’s still trying to help.

Chicago Tribune
John Keilman
January 3, 2019
That grim statistic is serving as motivation for Mains. On May 30, he plans to run 1 km for every firefighter and paramedic who dies by suicide in 2019. So far, that distance works out to just over 77 miles — more than twice as far as he’s ever gone.

Ryan Mains, of Huntley, trains for an ultra-marathon in the woods of Veteran Acres Park on Dec. 11, 2019, in Crystal Lake. Mains will run more than 120 km next May, 1 km for each firefighter who committed suicide in 2019. Mains suffers from PTSD as as a result of his work as a combat medic in the armed forces as well as 14 years as a Woodstock paramedic/firefighter. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

The morning sky was the color of lead, the air was barely above freezing and the only sound was the crunch of dead leaves as Ryan Mains began a 10-mile run through Crystal Lake’s Veteran Acres Park.

He has come here for years to build his stamina on the park’s steep hills, preparing for races that stretch well beyond a marathon. But he also treasures the stillness. When he runs, observed by a few placid deer and the occasional owl, the memories that trouble him vanish like mist.

They always come back, though. He can never run far enough to escape them completely.

Mains, 39, is a veteran of the Iraq war and a longtime Woodstock firefighter and paramedic who has been diagnosed with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms built slowly over years, ultimately becoming so pronounced that a few months ago Mains had to leave the job that he loved.

He’s now getting treatment while seeking worker’s compensation and a disability pension, but success is no sure thing: Unlike other states, Illinois does not treat PTSD as a “presumptive” condition, meaning firefighters must prove that their suffering is indeed the result of their work.
read it here

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What was God doing on 9 11?

Where was God before the Towers fell?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 11, 2019

After reading about a firefighter being identified all these years later,  I was thinking about how God was in so many places on 9 11 before the Twin Towers fell.

He was there when the firefighters rushed into the buildings so they could save lives after the Towers were hit. He was there when workers were helping each other find their way out of danger. He was there when total strangers helped the wounded make their way to getting medical care, and be there to just offer a shoulder.

He was there before the South Tower fell at 9:59 and still there as people in the North Tower were trying to save lives before it fell at 10:28 am.

God was there before the passengers decided to fight the hijackers on Flight 93 causing it to crash at 10:03 am.

Thirty-seven phone calls were made by 13 persons on board the plane between the time of the hijacking at 9:28 am and the time of the crash at 10:03 am.
He was there all along. Whenever we witness someone doing anything for the sake of others, He is there.

I was going to write a long piece until I came upon something I had already written.

Looking for God in the wrong places 
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
September 12, 2012

Last night I was watching The Four Crosses at Ground Zero.
"As rescue and recovery began, fireman, police, and rescue workers would be forced to endure the nightmare of working and living inside Ground Zero. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into hopelessness as the reality of what had happened sunk in. While working in Building 6 in the World Trade Center complex, workers discovered a cavernous type hole in the debris."

As I listened to some of the people there, while I thought it was a beautiful story, I kept thinking of what was missing from the program.

It is easy to wonder where God was on that horrible day as other people decided such evil acts were justified when they used everything in their power to kill. Where was He? Why didn't He stop it? How could a loving God allow it to happen?

We ask those questions all the time. We suffer in our lives, then try to figure out why God thought we deserved it. What did we do to make Him turn away from us?

If we search for Him in the dirt and debris we are looking for Him in the wrong place.

God was on those planes that hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as much as he was on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. He was not the pilot but He was the comforter. When one hand reached out to comfort someone else, He was right there. Whenever people push past thoughts for themselves to think of someone else, He is there.

Many wonder why He didn't just cause the hijackers to suffer a heart attack an spare so many innocent lives. Others wonder why He just didn't stop them from doing it. The truth is in the Bible that God does not interfere with freewill so He would not have just snatched the hijackers out of their seats. Still how do we know He didn't try to get them to change their hearts?

It is natural for us to ask what caused other humans to do such horrible things but we miss the other question about what causes so many to do compassionate things afterwards.

What caused the police and firefighters to rush into the buildings after pure evil struck them? What caused them to climb the stairs over and over again trying to save as many lives as possible after others tried to kill as many as possible?

While the evil that man does is apparent, the good they do is inherent. It was not just public employees risking their lives that day, there were average citizens in the Towers thinking of others instead of their own lives. Some of them could have survived had they used the time they had to think of their own lives, but they had the lives of others in their thoughts and actions. It was God driving them to do for others and they had the freewill choice to allow His voice to guide them or not.

But then there were smaller miracles. Survivors reached out to help others. Strangers took the hands of other strangers, put their arms around people they would have normally just walked past under normal circumstances. Then people rushed to the area to give whatever help they could.

Days passed while more and more people showed up to help find survivors and recover bodies. God was still there hearing the prayers of the nation and comforting the weary as they refused to leave.

Families of the missing were comforted by others while the time of hope faded into thinking of funerals for when the remains were found.

Every street across the country became decorated with flags and so did our cars. We were all thinking of others glued to our TV sets and reminded to be kinder to other people.

Even members of Congress joined together on the steps side by side. And we know it took a miracle to do that.

Whenever we look for God in what has been lost, we miss where He was all along.

This is the story that caused this post
A firefighter killed on September 11 is identified 18 years later

By Faith Karimi
September 11, 2019

(CNN)A firefighter who died on September 11 was laid to rest Tuesday after his remains were identified 18 years later.
Michael Haub comforts his mother, Erika Starke, as they attend a funeral service for his father, firefighter Michael Haub.

Firefighters and loved ones gathered to mourn Michael Haub after his remains were conclusively identified, the Uniformed Firefighters Association said in a statement. It said the service was to provide his family with closure and a peace of mind after the medical examiner last week identified more of his remains that were recovered at Ground Zero.

As of July this year, the remains of only about 60% of the 2,753 people killed at the World Trade Center that day have been positively identified, according to the medical examiner's office.

Haub was a 13-year veteran of Ladder Company 4, according to the association.

"We remember him and the 342 other firefighters who perished that fateful day, and will be forever grateful for the courage they show," it said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition to the firefighters killed that day, hundreds more have died in the following years. New York officials say an additional 200 firefighters have lost their lives from illnesses linked to their time working at the World Trade Center after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
read it here

Monday, August 12, 2019

More first responders saving others....but not themselves

For second day in row, NYPD mourning officer who died by suicide

NBC New York, citing law enforcement sources, reported that the officer who died Wednesday was 56 years and found in his Queens home after police were called around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday.

On Tuesday, another police officer died by suicide in Yonkers.

Since the beginning of June, seven NYPD officers have died by suicide, and nine since the beginning of the year.
read it here

FDNY captain found dead of apparent suicide in his Staten Island home: sources

AUG 06, 2019

An FDNY captain was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Staten Island home Tuesday morning, police sources said. The 53-year-old captain was found hanging in a closet of his Tottenville home at about 11:15 a.m., sources said. 

His name has not yet been publicly released. An autopsy is pending, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner’s office said.

FDNY spokesman Myles Miller provided no details about the captain’s death Tuesday, though he said the department shared suicide prevention tips to its members after the suicides of seven NYPD officers this year — four of them over a three-week stretch.
read it here

NYPD suicides push officials to work to overcome stigma of asking for help

AUGUST 11, 2019
The study found that first responders failed to seek help because of the stigma of seeking mental health treatment in a profession that prioritizes bravery and toughness. It also found of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, “approximately 3-5% have suicide prevention training programs.”
The first sign something was wrong: The police sergeant didn’t show up for morning roll call.

New York Police Department officials went to his home, where they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was July 27, and the 30-year-old with eight years on the force was the NYPD’s seventh suicide this year, according to officials.

It’s news that rattled Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who says his biggest fear is another one of his officers is about to take his or her own life.

“Am I scared? I’ve got to be honest with you. Yeah, I am,” O’Neill told CNN during a recent interview at his office at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. “Maybe there’s somebody out there right now that’s in crisis or approaching crisis and just unable or unwilling to come forward.”

Over a two-month period, O’Neill has had often-painful conversations about a member of the department who killed himself. The number of NYPD suicides so far this year stands at seven — with five of those occurring since June.
read it here

FOX43 Focal Point: Heroes in Harm’s Way — First responders and mental health

AUGUST 11, 2019
"What they are seeing on a regular basis is not normal. We're responding to situations that would absolutely terrify another member of the public or completely devastate them if they've seen some of the carnage we've seen." Chief Jarrad Berkihiser

LANCASTER, Pa. -- For the third straight year, police officer suicides exceeded line of duty deaths in the United States. Local first responders are now sharing their battles with mental health issues. FOX43's Grace Griffaton takes a closer look at the toll the uniform can take. Lancaster Bureau Of Police lost a patrol officer last year after he took his own life. The loss hit the department hard, and it really changed how it looks at mental health. The flashing lights, the sirens, the tape, it's what civilians see. What first responders see, smell, and hear may never go away.

"Just watching what they do at an autopsy to four children - one being the same age as my daughter. It was kind of a gut bunch," said Chief Jarrad Berkihiser, Lancaster Bureau of Police. Flash back to August 22, 2003: Officers, including Berkihiser, respond to an arson on East Chestnut Street in Lancaster. Four children perished that day. "It was a homicide so I ended up spending 3 full days in the crime scene," explained Berkihiser. It wasn't Berkihiser's first time seeing trauma either; he spent his first 10 years processing violent crime scenes. "I was in a dark place in 2003, and it wasn't just one incident. What I found out? It was a culmination of multiple incidents over several years," he added.
read it here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, July 15, 2019

Many federal agencies can't tally fatalities outside of work hours

Agencies Boost Efforts to Stop Wildland Firefighter Suicides

July 15, 2019

Reasons for the rise are unclear, though some cite longer and tougher wildfire seasons and an increase in the number of wildland firefighters who previously served in the military and were already dealing with post-traumatic stress.
Federal wildland firefighting authorities are increasing mental health resources following an apparent increase in firefighter suicides in recent years.

Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise say it's difficult to track the number of suicides because many federal agencies can't tally fatalities outside of work hours and some families don't want the cause released. But officials say there appears to be a jump in known suicides, so efforts are being boosted to get wildland firefighters help.

Experts say the high-intensity camaraderie of the wildfire season can be followed by months of isolation in the offseason and sometimes money concerns without a steady paycheck.
read it here

If you are reading this, there is a reason you are here.

The fact that over 7 million Americans have PTSD, and most from just one event, needs to sink into your brain.

Why? Because you are still just another human, susceptible to the same kind of events the rest of the population goes through. For us, it can be just one event.

That said, you decided to put your own life on the line to save as many other people as possible. For you, it is the one event too many. 

If you do not look down on the people you are risking your life for...THEN WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF?

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Thursday, July 4, 2019

First Responders fighting PTSD, you can walk in their shoes...sneakers

Iowa officer's shoe campaign helping first responders struggling with PTSD goes national

If you or your loved one is suffering from PTSD, you can contact the Code 9 Project here. Officer Slagle's shoes are back up for sale and can be found here.

FOX 28 News
by Kayla James
July 3rd 2019

It was just this spring Marion officer Ron Slagle announced the pre-ordering of his footwear, the Honor and Respect Shoes. 

The sneakers, sporting a patriotic design, are an effort of Slagle's to raise money for the Code 9 Project and Blue H.E.L.P. Both are organizations focusing on providing help and resources to first responders and their families battling post traumatic stress disorder.

On Wednesday morning, Officer Slagle appeared on "Fox and Friends" to discuss his shoes and his mission. Code 9 Project co-founder, Deborah Ortize, tells CBS2/Fox28 News the shoes quickly sold out after his appearance. In addition to them selling out for a brief period of time, Ortize says she's been receiving many calls and e-mails to the Code 9 Project's headquarters.
read more here

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Boise Fire Department FINDING HOPE

FINDING HOPE: Boise Fire Department coping with suicide death, fighting stigma of mental illness

By: Karen Lehr
Jun 25, 2019
"New firefighters saw veteran firefighters break down, and they talked about their feelings and how they were feeling that day, and really that has changed the stigma around it," Doan explained. "Other firefighters are seeing it's okay to seek treatment, that it's okay to not be okay."
BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, May 21 is a day most Boise firefighters will never forget. Early that morning, firefighters at Station #6 discovered Senior Firefighter Charlie Ruffing died by suicide while working overnight.
It was known within the department Ruffing was facing struggles with his mental health. He was undergoing counseling to deal with post traumatic stress injuries as a result of incidents witnessed on the job over the course of his 20 year career.

A recent bill - passed this legislative session - will soon allow those working on the front lines in Idaho to file for workers compensation to cover the cost of treating psychological injuries incurred while on the job, but Boise Fire is doing even more to make sure this never happens again on their watch.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, June 24, 2019

Community forms Hands Across the Bridge to support veterans and first responders fighting PTSD

Community Joins Hands Across SH 66 Bridge in Support of Veterans, First Responders

Blue Ribbon News
“To see this amount of support from the community shows that people do care,” Salerno said. “And that eases the minds of our military veterans and first responders, knowing that all of these people are out here for them.
(ROCKWALL, TX — June 24, 2019) 
On June 22, community members joined hands on the State Highway 66 bridge to raise awareness on suicides committed among our country’s military veterans and first responders.

In Oct. 2018, Third Watch LE Motorcycle Club started a Walk Across the Bridge movement to raise awareness and combat suicides among veterans and first responders suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The bridge walk, held on the 22nd of each month, has grown from 13 participants in October to an average of 90 participants each month.

As part of their bridge walk event this month, Third Watch LEMC invited folks to line the bridge, hold hands, and take a few minutes of silence to remember those veterans and first responders who committed suicide due to PTSD. The Hands Across the Bridge event saw more than 140 people span a third of the two-mile bridge in support of the cause.

Third Watch LEMC’s John Salerno, a 9/11 survivor and retired NYPD detective, said he was honored at the turnout for the event, and hopes they can make it halfway across the bridge for the next one.
read more here

Friday, June 7, 2019

Boise Fire Department Grieves Loss of Charles Ruffing

ID Senior Firefighter Found Dead at Station

JUNE 3, 2019
Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before taking his own life in late May, according to the USFA.
Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder before taking his own life in late May, according to the USFA.
Ruffing is survived by his wife, Tonya, five children and seven grandchildren

Ruffing Boise(ID) Senior Boise, ID, firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53. BOISE, ID, FIRE FIGHTERS, LOCAL 149 
An Idaho senior firefighter and driver-engineer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder took his own life late last month, according to an on-duty death notification from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Boise firefighter Charles Ruffing, 53, was found dead May 21 at the department's Station 6, the USFA announced Monday. A memorial for Ruffing was held Saturday at the Nampa Civic Center, and hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects in the city where he was born.
read more here

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Female firefighters have higher risk of PTSD

Female Firefighters at Risk of PTSD and Suicidal Thoughts

Journal of Emergency Medical Services
Occupational Medicine
Female firefighters are at a high-risk of developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing suicidal thoughts, compared to male firefighters
The study found that almost one in three (30%) female firefighters indicated that they had considered or attempted suicide compared to one in seven (15%) male firefighters.

Being single increased the risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts in both genders, previous research has indicated that having a life partner may be a protective factor for suicide.

The research also found that PTSD symptoms were more common among female firefighters, with one in five (20%) female firefighters indicating that they had experienced such symptoms, compared to one in eight (12%) male firefighters. Women who had been in the career for between 10-20 years were found to be at a higher risk of developing PTSD symptoms than those who were in the first 10 years of service.

The study also found that approximately one third of both male (31%) and female (32%) firefighters screened positive for alcohol problems.

The study assessed 2,639 firefighters, 75 women and 2,564 men in a large urban fire department. The participants filled in anonymous questionnaires indicating if they had experienced symptoms of depression, general stress, PTSD, problem behaviours associated with alcohol consumption and if they had considered or attempted suicide.
read more here

Monday, May 6, 2019

Firefighter's last request, to not die in vain

Family stressing importance of mental health after death of Orange Twp. firefighter

ABC 6 News
by Haley Nelson
May 3rd 2019

ORANGE TWP, Ohio — The parents of a Central Ohio firefighter/paramedic are sharing a message about the importance of mental health for first responders, after his death.

Orange Township firefighter/paramedic Trever Murphy died by suicide on April 12th, after battling anxiety, PTSD and more this year. He was 28.

"We (saw) bits and pieces here and there," said mom Kathrine Murphy Hardin, "but, you could tell he was always the tough guy, 'I've got to hide this under this nice hard shell'."

His story is one of so many successes, say parents Kathrine and Gary.

"His motto was 'Go big, or go home'," said Murphy Hardin, "and that's what he did. He was top in his class in Columbus State, he excelled in high school."
read more here

Monday, April 22, 2019

First Responders workshops for the stress of coping with danger

Workshops help first responders deal with stress

The Republic
By Mark Webber

Two upcoming workshops for local first responders will help them deal with the stress of coping with danger, chaos and tragedy which are part of their professions.
Mike Kutsko

Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among police and firefighters have been found to be as much as five times higher than the civilian population, said Columbus Deputy Fire Chief Mike Kutsko.

Workshops on Monday and Tuesday at Columbus City Hall are designed to help the first responders, and also their families, Kutsko said.

Until recently, most first-responders would never admit they have a problem. Good mental health is a prerequisite to working in police or fire operations, so there is fear of losing promotions – or worse – if someone admits feeling depressed or traumatized, Kutsko said.

"There is a big stigma with mental health," Kutsko said. "There’s a fear that others will look on you as if you are weak."
read more here

Saturday, March 23, 2019


WHAT KILLS FIRST RESPONDERS: Efforts underway to combat deadly stress of emergency work

Idaho State Journal
John O'Connor
March 23, 2019

They convinced Hale, who is a U.S. Navy veteran, to seek treatment and Moldenhauer personally drove him to a Veterans Administration therapy and rehabilitation program in Salt Lake City. Hale later underwent additional mental health treatment at an International Association of Firefighters-affiliated rehabilitation center for emergency workers in Baltimore.
Pocatello Fire Department Capt. Andy Moldenhauer, pictured, recently received an award from the American Red Cross for helping paramedic Dustin Hale, who was suicidal, get help for his severe post-traumatic stress injury. Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
Dustin Hale sought to cope with the anguish he routinely encountered as a Pocatello Fire Department paramedic by mentally absorbing victims' pain and cramming it into his own psyche.

"Some of us, like myself, we take a lot of the pain and what the families and patients are feeling and try to take it away from them by taking it on ourselves," Hale explained.

After several years of treating trauma, Hale's inner turmoil boiled over, culminating last fall with him holding a gun to his own head. It's a story he's embarrassed to tell but shares publicly, hoping to convince first responders to be open about the extreme stress they experience and to seek help when needed.

It's a timely message. Four other members of the Pocatello Fire Department have sought help via a post-traumatic stress injury, or PTSI, rehabilitation program during the past year and a half, according to their local union leader. A cross section of department members also plan to take peer support training offered through their international union, during which they'll learn to identify colleagues with PTSI and take appropriate steps to help them.

Snake River Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 plans to bring in a renowned speaker on PTSI at 6 p.m. July 15 at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center, 870 S. Fisher Ave. in Blackfoot.

The state has also taken recent action to address the problem of emergency service workers experiencing PTSI, passing a law on March 13 extending workers' compensation to cover the mental health condition for law enforcement officers, 911 dispatchers, firefighters and paramedics.

"There's no one who does the job that (stress) doesn't affect," Hale said. "Without the proper outlet and the proper care as far as mental health goes, sometimes that can turn into an actual injury. That's where PTSI comes in."
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Ignorant Fire Chief insulted firefighter asking for help with PTSD

Fire Chief made joke about PTSD to firefighter?

Why is this still happening when someone with the authority should have invested time in understanding what PTSD is considering the men and women under him face the causes of it on a daily basis?

Advocates have spent decades to educate everyone on what PTSD is, why they have it and what they can do to heal. We spent all these years to do that so that the stigma is proven stupid and so are jerks like this who feel it is OK to make a joke about a firefighter finding the courage to #BreakTheSilence and ask for help.

Any kind of idea what kind of message this sends to the people they rescue who end up with PTSD as survivors too?

At least the other firefighters made sure their "brother" got the help he asked for and the want to make sure the Chief is held accountable~

Firefighters call for Marion Fire Chief to step down after disconcerting comments

The Indy Channel News
By: Nicole Griffin
Mar 22, 2019

"He said, 'ha, we'll tell your family how good of a guy you were,'" Captain Lamb recalled. He said the chief then made a joke, referencing the death of another firefighter.
MARION —Firefighters at the Marion Fire Department said they are stunned about comments the fire chief reportedly made to a firefighter who confided in him about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms he was having. They are now asking the city's mayor to demote the fire chief, or for him to step down.
"It's probably the least common thing for someone to talk about it, to be honest with you," Captain Jordan Lamb, Marion Fire Department, and local union president, said.

Captain Lamb has been a part of the Marion Fire Department for 12 years. Day after day, he responds to difficult calls. He said every firefighter and EMT handles the emotions differently.

"I just try to keep it in and let it pass. Kids are the worse - especially since I have kids," Captain Lamb said. "I can see anything, but you put a kid out there it's going to affect me."

The department recently went through mandatory suicide awareness training. One firefighter came forward to the chief expressing his feelings of PTSD. It was the chief's response that has firefighters upset.
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