Fire de­part­ments to de­ve­lop PTSD po­li­cies

Le Reflet (The News) - - LA UNE - ALEXIA MAR­SILLO alexia.mar­

The Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land fire department is cur­rent­ly wor­king on a po­li­cy dea­ling with Post Trau­ma­tic Stress Di­sor­der (PTSD) in or­der to help fi­re­figh­ters wi­thin the department deal with the stress that may come with the job and to al­so help break the stig­ma sur­roun­ding PTSD. This comes short­ly af­ter On­ta­rio’s Mi­nis­try of La­bour cal­led on fire de­part­ments across the pro­vince to be­gin im­ple­men­ting their own PTSD po­li­cies.

In June of this year, a fi­re­figh­ter from Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land took his own life and, al­though, it is not sti­pu­la­ted that the job had any­thing to do with it, the in­ci­dent ope­ned up a conver­sa­tion about men­tal health wi­thin se­ve­ral fire de­part­ments. Ac­cor­ding to Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land fire department’s de­pu­ty chief, Ma­rio Ville­neuve, se­ve­ral fi­re­figh­ters from Ot­ta­wa were sent to Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land in or­der to of­fer sup­port to mem­bers of the af­fec­ted department.

The Na­tion mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty has just adop­ted its own PTSD po­li­cy for the fire department du­ring a recent coun­cil mee­ting on Sep­tem­ber 25. The po­li­cy ad­dresses brea­king the stig­ma sur­roun­ding PTSD, pre­ven­ta­tive op­tions, symp­tom re­cog­ni­tion and how to find im­me­diate sup­port wi­thin the fire department, but al­so ex­ter­nal­ly.

The po­li­cy out­lines four steps: the first is to en­gage in more dis­cus­sions about PTSD wi­thin the fire department in or­der to break the stig­ma and the se­cond is to to es­ta­blish a cri­ti­cal in­ci­dent stress ma­na­ge­ment (CISM) team in­vol­ving other Pres­cott-Rus­sell fire de­part­ments so that fi­re­figh­ters can seek help and sup­port from other fi­re­figh­ters who un­ders­tand them but may not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly be from their own department. The third step in­cludes in­ves­ting in a Vo­lun­teer Fi­re­men’s In­su­rance Ser­vice that would pro­vide a 24/7 phone hel­pline. The last step is for the fi­re­men them­selves, re­com­men­ding they seek ex­ter­nal sup­port un­re­la­ted to the fire department.

Both the Cla­rence-Ro­ck­land and The Na­tion fire de­part­ments are cur­rent­ly un­der­going pro­cesses in or­der to set up and im­ple­ment their own PTSD po­li­cy, which should be un­der­going ap­pro­val short­ly. Fi­re­figh­ters from the area are wel­come to make sug­ges­tions to the fire department du­ring this pro­cess.

—pho­to four­nie

Des ser­vices des in­cen­dies de la ré­gion tra­vaillent ac­tuel­le­ment à l’éla­bo­ra­tion d’une po­li­tique sur le syn­drome de stress post­trau­ma­tique (SSPT) afin d’ai­der les pom­piers souf­frant de stress as­so­cié au tra­vail à bri­ser la stig­ma­ti­sa­tion en­tou­rant le SSPT.

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