Suicide in the fire service has reached alarming proportions, surpassing line of duty deaths (LODD) in firefighters. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 60 firefighter LODD in 2017. Compare this to 91 firefighter suicides.
SUD is a common issue within the first responder community. Current research suggests that those in fire service engage in binge drinking at almost double the rate of the general public.
PTSD has reached epidemic proportions in the fire service. Symptoms include intrusion, avoidance, negative cognition and mood, and alteration in arousal response.
Firefighters experience depressive disorders at more that twice the rate of the general public (17% vs 7%). Resources are available to help.
The firefighter is not the only one affected by the job. Spouses, partners, significant others, children and even parents can all face challenges.
Ask mental health professionals and they will tell you that everything is related to sleep. Many mental health (and physical) issues can be affected by poor sleep.
Suicide has grown into a serious problem in the American fire service.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the suicide rate among firefighters is much higher than the LODD rate.
2017: 60 LODD, 91 Suicides
2016: 69 LODD, 99 Suicides
2015: 68 LODD, 94 Suicides
According to the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), EMS practitioners have a suicide rate that is 12x the national average.
5-13% of the general population.
21% of the firefighter population.
5% of the general population.
7-12% of the firefighter population.
Studies show that 90% of all completed suicides show some sign before they occur. Know the signs!
Expressing feeling that the world would be better off without them;
Giving away possessions;
Anxious, reckless behavior;
Extreme mood swings
Studies show that the rate of firefighter binge drinking is near double that of the general population.
Believe it or not, the rush provided by energy drinks may be addictive.
High risk behavior may be addictive as well.
Most Americans will suffer some sort of a traumatic event in their lifetime. Only 8% will be afflicted with PTSD, however. The reasons for this, presumably, are resilience and support. Resilience relates to "bouncing back" from the traumatic event by employing effective coping strategies. Support refers to the availability of interpersonal communication.
The rate of PTSD in the Urban Fire Service is between 13 - 30%. This rate exceeds the CDC rate to wualify qualify as an epidemic, which is 7%.
Signs and symptoms of PTSD include intrusive thoughts or nightmares; avoiding places, activities or people that bring back the event; negative cognition or mood; and/or hyperarousal.
The rate of depressive disorders ib the firefighter population is more than double that of the general population. When it comes to depressive disorder:
7% of the general population is affected.
17% of the firefighter popukation is affected.
We know that the firefighter is not the only one in the family that is affected by the job. Spouse/significant other/partner, children, friends, and even parents may be affected.
Sometimes, firefighters do not want to discuss work issues or critical incidents at home. Observable signs may be present, however. Often, the first signs of trouble present themselves at home.
One of the most important things you can do is learn psychological first aid, particularly how to recognize signs of trouble. Early recognition and intervention are critical.
20% of the general population.
37% of the firefighter population.
Risk of the following conditions increases with inadequate sleep.
Talk to your doctor if you think you may have an issue.