Saving Our Own - Overland Park Fire Department Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training [open pdf - 263KB]
"The problem was that the Overland Park Fire Department did not provide suicide awareness and prevention training to address the mental health and emotional well-being of its emergency response personnel. The purpose of this applied research project was to identify a suicide awareness and prevention training program that can be utilized by the Overland Park Fire Department for the education of its emergency response personnel. The descriptive research method was used to answer the following questions: (a) what are identifiable and/or contributing factors that place firefighters at a higher risk for suicide (b) what are the objectives and/or goals of a suicide awareness and prevention training program, (c) what suicide awareness and prevention training programs are available to members of the fire service profession, (d) what national organizations and/or resources are available to aid emergency responders suffering from suicidal ideation? The procedures utilized to answer the afore-mentioned research questions consisted of a literature review, extensive personal communications with multiple subject matter experts in the field of suicidology and data analysis related to national suicide statistics and demographics compared to that of the fire service profession. The results of this applied research project included confirmation by statistical analysis that a significant percentage of firefighters are categorized within the identifiable at-risk group for suicide, outlined specific elements associated with a firefighter's increased capability for suicide, defined objectives related to a suicide awareness and prevention training program, reviewed suicide awareness and prevention training programs currently being utilized by members of the fire service profession and recognized qualified national organizations able to aid emergency responders suffering from suicidal ideation. Recommendations included the development of a comprehensive firefighter suicide awareness and prevention training program through collaborative efforts with the following organizations: Carson J. Spencer Foundation, Alternatives Employee Assistance Program, Clinical Associates, and KU [University of Kansas] Health Mid-West."
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/