SAVE THE DATE:
SUICIDE AWARENESS AND SAFETY STAND DOWN
My Brothers and Sisters,
This coming Monday, as part of Local 1014 and the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s efforts to make behavioral health a priority for all our members, we will be engaging in a Department-wide Suicide Awareness & Safety Stand-Down. From September 23rd through September 25th, our Department will be engaging in discussions curated by our peer support team, chaplains, and culturally competent mental health clinicians to bring this issue out of the shadows. You will be receiving materials at your stations and sites with tools and resources to get the conversation started.
I just returned from El Paso, Texas as part of a 31-member IAFF Peer Team including our own LA County Peers. I can tell you the need for behavioral health efforts in our profession especially for those that combat suicide due to post-traumatic stress and cumulative stress of our job has never been more in demand. As Chair of the California State Fire Service Task Force on Behavioral Health, I work daily to ensure our Firefighters have the resources necessary to address these issues. I am imploring you to please to make the time and pay attention to this safety stand down like your life or the life of one of your crew members depends on it--it may very well be the case.
We know that as First Responders, saving lives is the most rewarding part of our profession, but the emotional burden of traumatic calls can overwhelm even the strongest among us. In the last four months, three California Firefighters died by their own hand. In many cases, post-traumatic stress injury is the cause, and all too often, our brothers and sisters suffer in silence.
As we wrap up the month of September and National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, we must remember to continue this practice all year long. Please continue to use the resources at your stations and sites to access our Peer Support Teams and Behavioral Health Resources or visit www.healingourown.org for additional resources. Your participation could save a life.
IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial
As the Local 1014 Executive Board prepares to honor our fallen brothers, Russell Van Fagan, Robert Brantley, and Roy Chapman, in Colorado Springs at the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, I ask all to reflect and remember ALL of the fallen both in Los Angeles County and across the nation.
The 2019 IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service will be broadcast live via streaming video on Saturday, September 21. The ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which officially begins at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain Time), will honor 250 IAFF members who died in the line of duty and were reported to the IAFF in the last year.
On behalf of the Local 1014 Executive Board, thank you for your commitment each and every day protecting our communities. Please keep our fallen brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice in your thoughts and prayers. Always remembered, never forgotten.