Shannon H. Pennington, Senior Chief
Robert L. Smith, Ph.D., Psychotherapist
Peggy Sweeney, Volunteer Firefighterveteran
N.A.F.F.V.N. Mission Statement:
Fire Fighters and First Responders are being increasingly challenged to meet operational assignment demands. Incident complexity and a rise in personnel time demands have lead to amplified stress levels. This is causing individuals to carry more and more responsibilities with fewer opportunities to recover from assignments.
Acute stress, job burn out and post traumatic stress reactions on the front line are becoming more evident in North America. We all need to become better educated in order to respond to the needs of the First Responders. Education has the power to move a negative outcome into a positive one. First Responders, both professional and volunteer, will have access to the educational tools on this website in order to grow and learn within their discipline.
N.A.F.F.V.N. is dedicated to the education of fire fighters, and first responders. We will provide up to date information as well as current Internet links to stress-related websites.
F.I.R.S.T. S.T.E.P. H.O.P.E
Tell a Friend or Co worker, someone you trust
Employ all available means of assistance including competent
Psychological help from someone trained in stress / asd / ptsd assesment treatment.
Engaging in process or Exiting the Profession.
on Suicide in the Fire Service:
NAFFVN provides the working notes in pdf format, on the Baltimore Symposium on Depression and Suicide hosted by the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation under section 13 Mental Health and Wellness, in 2011 Firefighter Veteran presented our point of view regarding the subject and has lifted the embargo on the notes in advance of the release of a Behavior Health model of care to be released this year by the NFFF.
Our paper is by no means comprehensive and inclusive of the 40 attendees from around the fire service or their point of view. It does cover what we feel was happening at the time and is a reflective paper designed to keep NAFFVN focused on what we want to see in the outcome regarding stress reduction and suicide prevention. NAFFVN fully supports the NFFF section 13 initiatives inclusive of the information here on this web site. All feedback is welcome. Stay safe with your "mental health" on the front lines. (Working Note)
"WARTORN" YouTube Video:
NAFFVN comment: If you follow the entire video to it's conclusion you will perhaps begin to see the links between military ptsd and ptsd as we are experiencing it in Law Enforcement Fire and E.M.S. For us our war within rages and subsides with the years of service and the types of calls we attend. Regardless of the branch that you serve in, Armed Forces or as a First Responder, the telling of the men and women in this video gives us insights and opportunity to challenge the status quo and to change the outcome of PTSD woundings. The failure of command to act is in of and by itself a condemnation of the status quo and a failure in the courage and leadership required to change the stigma in mental health woundings from ptsd. If you are in a command position in service then consider the wisdom offered here.
Warning: this is graphic video and testimony. Guard your mind. If you have ptsd you will understand the message and the content. If you don't have ptsd and want to begin to understand what it is then view this video in a safe setting and buddy up to discuss it with a trusted friend or peer. NAFFVN thanks the men and women who shared their story and the ptsd woundings so openly and with such integrity. CLICK HERE
A message from PTSD FireFighterVeteran Shannon Pennington:
The following speech was delivered to over 500 guests at the Tema Conter Memorial Trusts Gala night in Vaughn Ontario on Saturday, the 9th of February 2008 by the Honorable David C. Onley Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Ontario Canada. I encourage all "Emergency First Responders" who read this to take heart and heed the message delivered by a man who himself carries physical injuries that can be seen and those that cannot be seen. As we are all aware, the work we do is often done in the dead of night or circumstances that are not witnessed by the general public. NAFFVN is pleased to have the Lt. Governors text placed on the front page of this web site so that we can see, that our work is UNDERSTOOD and appreciated by those in government who are themselves users of our services and who, not just in their service but as in ours, are willing to acknowledge our sacrifices and our woundings.
"NOT ALL WOUNDS ARE VISIBLE"
David C. Onley
The Honourable David C. Onley
REAL MEN.....REAL DEPRESSION;
The following message by firefighter Jimmy Brown of F.D.N.Y. tells it like it is....Jimmy worked out of Engine 10 across from the World Trade Center in New York. He climbed to the 24th floor of the South Tower when it began to collapse. Hit with debris, he feared being buried, but he made his way to street level walking through dust so thick he couldn't see or hear anything. After a hospital stay, dogged by numbness and loss of interest in life, he spent days at home doing nothing, consumed by survivor's guilt and despair.
Jimmy took part in the "Real Men Real Depression" campaign launched by the NIMH to educate the public about depression in men. NAFFVN supports the front line firefighters of America by bringing this important message to those who may be hurting inside.....where the fire in the belly smoulders......and the flashover of events can cause you to be consumed ......
... put F.I.R.S.T. S.T.E.P. H.O.P.E. in your tool box when your on the line and listen to Jimmy speak by going to the following link:
This video outlines some of the causes, signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD, when gone untreated, can lead to such extremes as suicide.
If you, or someone you love, suffer from PTSD, or suspected PTSD, seek professional intervention from a source that you trust and a source that is properly trained in clinical assessment and diagnosis for any of the signs and symptoms of traumatic stress wounding. N.A.F.F.V.N. has reviewed this video and has talked with the author. We endorse the message and approve of the content in this format.
WARNING: This video includes graphic images from (1) Oklahoma City Bombing; (2) World Trade Center Attacks; (3) Omaha Beach, WWII; (4) Hue City, Vietnam War; and (5) a Police Officer Funeral.
The end message is one of H.O.P.E.
P.T.S.D. affects not only the Emergency Services but our family and others outside of the service on civi street. The model in this video is directed towards education in signs and symptoms. If you are in doubt consult your family physician, your home department CISM team or a licensed clinician who is registered to practice in your state or province. NAFFVN also recognizes the Vietnam Veterans of America and Canada whose traumatic stress wounds are well documented and who we trust as a recognized source of wisdom when the wounded warrior is trying to find a way out of the emotional smoke of events.