‘It’s OK to not be OK’: Florida fire department leaders push for increased mental health screenings for first responders

  • Source: WFTV ABC 9 News Orlando
  • Published: 07/29/2020 12:00 AM

Local fire department leaders are speaking out about the calls to increase mental health screenings for first responders following the overdose death of a Winter Park EMS captain. Winter Park fire Capt. A.J. Isaacs overdosed on painkillers, which were stolen from his own department. “I know, without a doubt, there’s definitely PTSD within the fire service,” his widow, Heather Isaacs, said. It’s something local departments recognize and try to prevent. “As firefighters, we’re taught and we’re trained to be professional in every situation and dealing with these types of incidents through the years, we’ve learned to push our emotions to the background,” Orange County Fire Rescue Safety and Wellness Chief Antonio Demings said. OCFR revamped its behavioral health program a few years ago to include daily call for service reviews and regular chaplain visits to crew members in order to identify potential trauma early on.


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