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Mind over what matters

Firefighting is a career of extremes that cannot be left at the office. Firefighters deal with life and death on a daily basis and are usually unable to debrief completely before heading home. Many firefighters find it difficult, if not impossible, to discuss work with their loved ones. We combine both on-duty and off-duty topics to provide firefighters with the tools required to deal with the stressors of firefighting.

Latest STRESS

Are You Carrying More Weight Than You’re Putting Down? 

No one expects a single firefighter to put the fire out by themselves, nor should they shoulder the psychological burden of the job.

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Broken Rituals

Mourn the loss of the ways you enjoyed. Grief and mourning can be powerful and positive emotions when given the right expression and forum.

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How not to Sweat the Small Stuff

Small things getting you down? We have four important questions you need to ask yourself today.

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SURVIVAL OF THE STRONG

As firefighters, we want the best. We want the best in order to be able to do the best job we can. On the whole, we’re motivated and driven; we have a job to do, we know how to do it, and we want to deliver. We want the best workplace environment, the best equipment, […]

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HOW TO KEEP WORK STRESS FROM HURTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Stress is a natural byproduct of the firefighter’s life. Have you ever been the target of someone else’s emotional outburst? It’s generally shocking and disorienting. You were going along with your day and suddenly you are dealing with an unexpected verbal assault. At the end of it all, you are frustrated, scared, and maybe even […]

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DOUSING THE FLAMES OF DIFFICULT EMOTIONS

You may be able to fool yourself into believing that by ignoring or suppressing emotions you won’t have to face them. Wrong. When you think about truly sharing your emotions, would you prefer to leave the conversation or conveniently find something else to talk about? Maybe it’s because you don’t know how you are feeling or maybe […]

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COGNITIVE DISCONNECT: DECISIONS BASED ON EMOTIONS

We allow our emotions to overcome reality and then base our decisions on those emotions such as anger, guilt, jealousy or other emotions. So there is a good possibility you might not have heard of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). As founder, I am a retired fire captain from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In […]

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BREAKING THE BOY MYTH

For the last 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of presenting to many audiences — one of these audiences being young men. There is a ridiculous notion that boys don’t have many emotions and it is often seen as a girl thing. I have learned that it is a perception that couldn’t be further from the truth!

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CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS, THE KILLER

When the stress doubles, we double the coping mechanisms. Having worked with emergency services for over 20 years, I have learned a thing or two about critical incident stress.  We generally associate it as the stress coming from the collected sights, sounds, and moral dilemmas not normally faced by the regular public.  Jeffrey Mitchell, himself […]

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YOU MIGHT BE DEALING WITH AN ASSHOLE

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate worker in New York City, or harvesting rice in China — chances are you’ve encountered negativity in the workplace. Imagine it for a moment: what if high-level negotiations at the United Nations began with, “before we get down to today’s agenda, let’s have a show of hands […]

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WHAT MATTERS

TWENTY‑NINE YEARS and twenty days ago, I had the privilege and honor to be in your seat. Today, being invited by Class 329 to address you is a greater privilege and higher honor. Thank you. On November 10, 1972, 1 graduated from DCFD Recruit Class 249. Today, I can’t remember what the speakers had to […]

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TIME TO TALK

Experiences first appear within us in a place without words, and it sits in the middle of our space until it is filed or processed. As the clinical director for the CISM team through the Nova Scotia Fire Services Association, I have been frequently asked about quick tips after a difficult call. This article gives […]

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EXPECT ANXIETY

When our system becomes disrupted, our emotional and nervous systems respond as if we are in danger. We may not realize we are stressed but wonder why we are so energized. The answer lies in the dynamic of cause and effect. Threat means adrenaline. Adrenaline is that rocket fuel that makes us run fast and […]

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FIND AND KEEP A GOOD THERAPIST

We see people at the worst moments of their lives. We see things we have no way to rationalize. I have been in the counselling business for 30 years and a firefighter for almost 25 years. I credit my longevity with having a therapist. Even though I am one myself, I need someone who can […]

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CANINE THERAPY: BRAD DODD STORY

“Service dogs help one person mitigate things that they cannot do for themselves that the dog will assist them with – it is a medical device that is doing something you cannot do yourself.” Some things in life come naturally to us. For some, it’s physical prowess. For others, it’s an academic inclination. For what […]

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