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looking around and wondering, “What the hell are
they crying about!?” Some people think some comedians are funny, and some, not at all.
Some do this ... and some do that.
In my sometimes (to a fault) simple way of seeing
things, the sooner we (fire service peers and bosses)
realize that we are all different and deal with stuff
differently, the better off we will be. To even think
that there is one way of dealing with the bad stuff is to
shove tuna down everyone’s throat; it won’t work. Gag.
To expect people to “tough it out” may work for
some but others, the way they are wired, simply can’t
tough anything out. For others, “toughing it out” is not
in their programming and, quite frankly, impossible
as a solution. Forget tough, think big strong
people who cry at holiday puppy commercials.
They are VERY tough, but bring out those
puppies and … awwwww.
It is 2017, and I’m not sure that the term
(and actions of) “toughing it out” even
applies any longer. There is valid concern
about behavioral health issues and the significant impact they have on firefighter wellness.
It is real. The stresses faced by us as firefighters on incidents involving kids, violence, our
past (such as veterans), and the role of being
a firefighter (making the runs) can have a
cumulative impact on our mental health and
Regular life stuff can be overwhelming as
well, more to some than others. It doesn’t
matter if you like it or agree, it is their feel-
ings. Think some comedians are funny, some
people like tuna, etc.
Many of the fire service associations such as
the IAFF, NVFC, and the NFFF continue to
develop phenomenal resources that educate
and support firefighters on behavioral health
concerns. Please check out their behavioral
health programs and resources.
The only takeaway I can offer here is the
understanding that we all see things, react
to things, and absorb things differently. It’s
kind of an emotional diversity. It’s not good
or bad, it’s just DIFFERENT. What you as
an officer may think isn’t a big deal may be
huge to that firefighter or those firefighters
under your command. Size-up applies to the
Take time to get trained. Attend the many
excellent fire service programs, in person and
online, provided by the associations that are
out there related to behavioral, emotional,
and mental health. And while you attend that
training, watch what happens at lunch; some
will grab the tuna sandwiches and some will
be looking for anything but the tuna.
Still looking for the “secret to life” and dealing
with all this stuff? Go listen to Faith Hill’s song “The
Secret to Life.”
Rest in peace Russ, Ray, and Ricky.
Let Nozzlehead hear all about it.
He’ll answer you with 2,000 psi
of free-flowing opinion.
Send your letters to:
Nozzlehead, c/o FireRescue
Penn Well Corp.
21-00 Route 208 South
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Attn: Diane Rothschild
Got a fire service question or complaint?