August Community Education Webinars on Role of Peer Support in the Fire Service

Author: IAFF Center of Excellence Staff

July 24, 2020

The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery is presenting three community education webinars in August for fire service professionals and clinicians, with a focus on peer support in the fire service. Community education webinars are free, open to the public, and hosted through Zoom.

For Fire Service Personnel

Introduction to IAFF Peer Support and Program Development

The International Association of Fire Fighters’ Peer Support Training program continues to transform the behavioral health conversation in the fire service. This webinar on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. EST will introduce a 10-step program development model and explore the critical building blocks to developing a successful peer support program. This program will be co-facilitated by an IAFF clinician and an IAFF master peer support instructor.

Topics include how to obtain program buy-in, select your peer team members, use mental health clinicians in your community, conduct program outreach, evaluate your impact to stakeholders and more. Members will leave equipped with practical strategies and IAFF resources to build or enhance an existing peer support program. An introduction to the IAFF Center of Excellence will also be provided.

This webinar will be delivered by IAFF Behavioral Health Specialist Sarah Bernes, MPH, LMSW, MBA, who will also be joined by Lieutenant Jeff Campbell of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Local 1660 and Fire Fighter/Paramedic Heith Good of Norwich Township Fire Department Local 1723. Jeff and Heith have a combined 41 years of experience in the fire service. Both play an integral role in their local peer support team and serve as IAFF Peer Support instructors.
group of fire fighters sitting on the front of their truck


For Clinicians

Understanding Peer Support in the Fire Service

This webinar on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST will provide clinicians and health care providers with an introduction to peer support in the fire service. Fire service personnel are also invited to attend.

Topics will explore the origins of peer support in the fire service, how fire fighters use peer support within the continuum of behavioral health care and the role of clinicians within this unique help seeking model.

An introduction to the IAFF Peer Support Training program will also be provided, as well as do’s and don’ts for clinicians working with fire service personnel from the perspective of a fire fighter. The program will conclude with an overview of the IAFF Center of Excellence, an essential referral resource for clinicians working with IAFF members.

This webinar will be delivered by IAFF Behavioral Health Specialist Lauren Kosc, LCPC, CCTP, who will be joined by Captain Justin Price, a 20-year veteran of the Greensboro Fire Department in Greensboro, NC and Vice President of Greensboro Local 947. Justin currently serves as the coordinator for the Greensboro Peer Team, in addition to serving as an IAFF Peer Support instructor and an IAFF Resiliency instructor.  

Treating Fire Service Professionals: Building Cultural Competency for Clinicians

This training on Thursday, August 27, 2020, 12:00 p.m. EST is to help clinicians and other community partners develop cultural competency in the fire service, so as to be best equipped to provide effective behavioral health services to fire fighters, paramedics and emergency dispatchers.

The event will include information about day-to-day life at the fire house and the potential impact of aspects of the job on well-being (e.g. exposure to trauma, shift schedules and mental health stigmas). This presentation will provide insight into the most common behavioral health issues experienced by fire service members, substance abuse trends among this unique population of professionals and treatment techniques that have proved successful at the International Association of Fire Fighters Center of Excellence. Completing this training will establish clinicians as preferred providers in the IAFF Center of Excellence database for aftercare referrals to provide a continuation of care for clients with providers who understand the intricacies of the fire service.

This webinar will be delivered by Molly Jones, LSW, Clinical Outreach Coordinator for the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery.

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