Firefighter Behavioral Health

From Tuesday, February 11 through Thursday, February 13, firefighter training focused on health and wellness.

Acting Deputy Chief John Barker spoke on the development of a Health and Wellness Program. This portion of the class focused on a program that would make options available to firefighting personnel to help prepare and maintain mental and physical fitness through diet and exercise in order to keep personnel fit and help decrease injury.

Rehab services that are provided by HR were also emphasized. Initial ideas for the fitness program included cardio, strength, and flexibility classes provided a couple of times a week. In addition, peer fitness assistance was discussed, and further program development was encouraged by soliciting involvement by department personnel.

Engineer Todd Carlson spoke about introducing regular stretching into the workday routines to help maintain fitness.

Dr. Tom Campion of Campion Barrow and Associates also spoke. Dr. Campion performs the pre-employment psychological evaluations of police officers and firefighters for the City. Fire Marshall John Koller and Risk Manager Larry Krause met with Dr. Campion last fall to discuss having Dr. Campion assist with critical incident stress debriefing as an enhancement to current procedures.

Dr. Campion talked about some of the signs and symptoms of someone who may need some extra help after a traumatic incident.  Firefighters were advised if they felt they would benefit from meeting with Dr. Campion, they could access him through department command staff or Human Resources.

Risk Manager Larry Krause spoke about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that is provided for all City employees. He gave details on how to access assistance from the EAP, its confidentiality and the ability of any member of an employee’s family to access services. The EAP provider of Bensinger, Dupont and Associates provides a variety of services for work, family, or personal issues.