This month our Executive Director was invited to present two programs for upper-level Fire Command members to support the health and well-being of Fire personnel. The two presentations entitled, “Line-of-Duty Injuries: the Forgotten Population” and “Peer Support and Emerging Sciences: Blending the New with the Traditional for Enhanced Wellness and Resiliency” were given on March 2 at the FCAM Professional Development Conference in Worcester, MA. Attendees consisted of representatives of the Fire Services from across the State.
Line-of-Duty Injuries (LODIs) is an area within public safety that is not uncommon in occurrence. Despite this, how to respond in the aftermath can be a challenge for both the injured person and their agency. When we think of what may be a critical incident within a person’s career LODIs are seldom thought about, despite it being a very significant critical incident. What to look for, common challenges faced, and how best to support the injured person was the main focus of this presentation.
The second presentation focused on Peer Support – where we began, where we are today, and what the future looks like. Part of contemporary and future peer support includes the use of technology. As science is continuing to develop, we are learning new ways of providing daily peer support and accelerating the healing from certain critical incidents. Developments such as meditation apps for smart phones is a small example of such an advancement.
Recognition needs to go to the FCAM leadership who requested that presentations be given on these topics. They continue to seek out information that will allow them to better serve in their roles and to better support the personnel under their command. The progressiveness of this group and willingness to learn new information is a testament to their professionalism.
It is a great honor to have been asked to develop and give these seminars. Our Fire Service community is called upon to do extraordinary work during the course of their careers. Being able to support them and all first responder agencies in their efforts by providing resources to enhance the health and well-being of our uniformed personnel is a priority mission here at NPSS.