Understanding and Coping with First Responder Stress: Free Online Resource
By Anthony S. Mangeri, Sr.
Firefighters and pre-hospital providers respond to traumatic incidents that can be mentally and emotionally demanding. For many years, the culture in emergency services expected personnel to “just deal with it” and accept that stress was part of the job.
Thankfully, this mindset is changing and soon may no longer be the norm. Across the U.S., fire and EMS departments have realized they need to develop a culture that encourages responders to build resiliency to properly manage their stress. Nevertheless, there is still much more work to be done.
As firefighters and EMTs, we must learn more about stress and its impact on the mind, body and spirit. We must take better care of each other by learning how to recognize the signs of stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in our fellow responders.
Departments must take on the responsibility of educating personnel about how to get help for themselves and for their peers. It is also important to involve family members so they too can be vigilant and take action to get their loved ones the help they deserve.
To help continue this important conversation, American Military University, in collaboration with FireRescue1, created a free online magazine for firefighters and EMS personnel.
The articles in the first half of the publication are designed to provide insight into first responder stress and how it can influence mental, physical and emotional health. Topics in the first half include the need to talk about PTSD and suicide in the fire service, how to recognize signs of stress, and symptoms of chronic stress.
The second half provides resources and solutions to help firefighters—and fire departments—develop programs and strategies to help individuals manage stress before it becomes a problem. Articles include strategies on how to be a resilient responder, reducing stress through yoga, and how to build a peer-support program in your department.
It is our hope that you will use this information to open a dialogue about workplace stress and how to better manage it both in the station and at home.
This publication is also available as a printed magazine. If you are interested in receiving physical copies for your department, please send an email to IPSauthor@apus.edu.
About the Author: Anthony S. Mangeri, Sr., MPA, CEM, EMT has more than 30 years of experience in emergency management and public safety operations. He reached the rank of Assistant Fire Chief-Safety Officer. Currently, he is the Director of Strategic Relations for Fire and Emergency Services at American Military University. Anthony is on the faculty in the School of Security and Global Studies. He also serves on the Fire & Life Safety Council of ASIS International and Vice-President of the International Association of Emergency Managers Region 2.