Alabama has become the first state in the nation to add peer support training to its curriculum for new fire school recruits, thanks to funding from the Alabama Department of Mental Health and support from the Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama (PFFA).
According to reports, 37% of firemen and women have battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and firefighters are three times more likely to die on the job than those in other careers. Tragically, one firefighter loses his or her life to suicide every two days.
The statewide peer support program will be a valuable keystone in aiding fire personnel in need according to International Association of Fire Fighters General President Edward Kelly.
“Adding behavioral health and peer support counseling training into the recruit curriculum is groundbreaking work,” he said.