Peer support program for First Responders held

The Saskatoon Fire Department has welcomed two experienced trainers from the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) to deliver a strategically designed program highlighting the importance of behavioural health and peer support in emergency services.

The two day program, occurring April 29 and 30, is being attended by 25 employees of the Saskatoon Fire Department, as well as outside agencies; it has been developed to offer guidance when:

    Approaching a peer who may be in need of support,

    Establishing trust and confidentiality,

    Providing support,

    Recognizing the need for additional support,

    Referring a peer to available resources, and

    Educating others about the importance of behavioural health.

Upon completion of the two day program and self-paced course work, participants will become certified IAFF Peer Support Trainers. Currently, the Saskatoon Fire Department has five employees certified as IAFF Peer Support Trainers. The training and certification of additional employees serves to the commitment of both the Saskatoon Fire Department and the IAFF Local 80 in promoting the wellness of all first responders and emergency personnel.

The Saskatoon Fire Department currently has Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) peer support persons and advisors to aid in times of crises or difficulty for our employees and their families. The addition of certified IAFF Peer Support Trainers furthers the impact that these initiatives will have on maintaining employee wellness.

The Saskatoon Fire Department is committed to supporting employee growth and wellness through a multitude of programs and practices.