TRAINING PROGRAMS

The following Firefighter/EMS/911 Behavioral Health Training programs are offered by the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team upon request.

The Team will bring them to you at your fire department, EMS organization, or 911 Center or you can attend them at our team office when offered. Contact us for more information!

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AWARENESS WORKSHOP

This program, originally developed by the Charleston Firefighter Support Team, has been adapted to include an introduction to our Team’s mission and services and provides information on the daily stresses in the lives of our emergency services personnel and their families that can affect their ability to function normally. Duration: 2 Hours

CURBSIDE MANNER- STRESS FIRST AID FOR THE STREET

This program was developed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Just as doctors practice “bedside manner” when talking to patients, the “curbside manner” of first responders makes a difference in how people experience and process a difficult life event. This learning module teaches “curbside manner”, a set of proven principles and actions that help first responders assist civilians in crisis by ensuring their safety, understanding their individual needs, meeting those needs, and promoting the connectedness and self-efficacy necessary for recovery.

Each principle; Cover, Calm, Connect, Competence, and Confidence, is first shown in action and then explained in detailed, practical language. These principles are also the core principles of the Stress First Aid program developed for organizational and peer support in the Fire Service.  Duration: 90 minutes

STRESS FIRST AID FOR FIREFIGHTERS

This program, also developed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, was created to assist firefighters in taking care of each other. It offers “a flexible set of tools for addressing stress reactions in firefighters and rescue personnel”.  It is intended to help members and leaders offer assistance to fire and EMS personnel to prevent the progression of stress reactions, and to bridge affected individuals to more formal treatment when required.

This program was developed with the cooperation of the South Carolina Firefighter Assistance and Support Team (F.A.S.T.), the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the South Carolina Fire Academy. It was first field tested in South Carolina on two different occasions before being released nationally.

It is available in three formats, ninety (90)  minutes for a general audience of fire and EMS personnel to include recruits, four (4)  hours for company command level personnel and above, and eight (8) hours for training actual peer team members within an organization.

ARE YOU REALLY TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF?

This program brings together the major components of our previous programs on behavioral health awareness, stress management in your personal and professional life, “file folder” management, problems with family dynamics, and finding the balance to manage them all.  It is an excellent course to assist firefighters and other first responders in understanding the myriad of issues that affect their ability to enjoy a stress free life.  It also provides tools to enable them to take ownership of solutions to improve their ability to function.  This program is for emergency services members in all disciplines and of all ranks that can easily be adapted to a regular part of everyday training within departments or organizations.  Duration: 2 Hours

FINDING BALANCE

Seldom can you find training programs specifically designed for emergency responders, their spouses, significant others, or family members to attend together. We are excited to now offer a program entitled “Finding Balance” developed specifically offered to include our firefighters, paramedics, 911 telecommunicators and their families.

A career in the field of emergency services leads to many significant and stressful events in a person’s life. Choosing the life of a firefighter, a paramedic or a 911 dispatcher impacts the individual, but also impacts their spouse, significant other, and other family members. There is a direct correlation between job satisfaction and successful job performance, personal satisfaction in relationships, and “outside the job” life. They are inextricably linked and this relationship must be acknowledged, nurtured, and fostered. This program offers effective coping strategies to assist the individual and loved ones in making sure their interpersonal relationships continue to grow in a positive manner while providing them with information important to managing a successful career. Duration: 2 Hours

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF

The “Understanding Grief” program is designed to provide participants with information concerning the causes and stages of grief and the tools to develop more effective communication strategies to aid in the recognition of the effects of grief. Specifically, the program will enable participants in identifying the causes of grief, the process of grief, the signs of complicated grief and the common misconceptions concerning grief. It is especially helpful to our first responders as we experience grief within our own families or organizations as well as in our responses to those citizens we serve. This program was developed and written by our Senior Chaplain Doug Farmer.

STEP UP & STEP OUT SUICIDE PREVENTION AND AWARENESS

Step Up & Step Out” is our ongoing initiative to prepare us to recognize those in our own ranks that are experiencing difficulties and/or suicidal thoughts and to provide those who are hurting with an advocacy program to provide help and support. This program addresses the issue of suicide from a peer perspective and provides tools to participants to help those who have lost hope.  It also provides participants an awareness of general characteristics of those who contemplate taking their own lives and is offered in our continuing effort to provide awareness and prevention training.  Duration 2 hours.

SURVIVING THE JOB

Steve Gillespie’s career as a first responder, police officer, and a firefighter began in 1983 with his first fatal motor vehicle accident as a seventeen-year-old volunteer firefighter.  His paid career as a New York City firefighter began in 1994 before he retired after twenty-one years on the job.  He served his entire FDNY career in The Bronx, one of the busiest boroughs of the FDNY.  He served on Engine 63, and thirteen years with Squad 41 before retiring in 2015 as a Lieutenant on Engine 43.  The Bronx has a history and a reputation of its’ own and spending twenty-one years there exposed him to much tragedy including responding to the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, 2001, the “Black Sunday” fire, the Deutsch Bank fire, and many others involving the multiple injuries and loss of firefighters and civilians alike.

Steve is a respected instructor with experience teaching at the FDNY Probationary Firefighter School, the FDNY Technical Rescue School, and presenting at national conferences such as the Firehouse Expo and the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference, both as a lecturer and a H.O.T. instructor.  He is presently a peer team member with the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, Inc. and has become a Training Officer with the North Charleston Fire Department since retiring from the FDNY in 2015.

Steve will share his story of how he has gone beyond his PTSD diagnosis to PTG (Post Traumatic Growth) with the help of therapy, medication, and becoming a peer counselor.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a silent injury that is  not discussed as openly as it should be. Steve offers his story with others hoping they realize that there is no longer a stigma with being in pain. Gone are the days of “suck it up kid” and “we don’t talk about that stuff”.  Talking helps empty “the box” of stored up trauma and images before it can overflow and affect you and your home life. This is not a scientific study or research but Steve’s story and how he has “Survived the Job“.

Steve’s poignant story promises to be valuable to firefighters, other first responders, peer team members, and clinicians serving in the emergency services world.   Call us if you would like to host it in your region.

LOVING AND LIVING WITH A FIREFIGHTER

Being the spouse or significant other of a firefighter can be challenging. Understanding the culture of the Fire Service and how it affects your firefighter/loved one can be very helpful in maintaining a strong and positive relationship personally, as a couple, and for your family. This program addresses the many aspects of “Loving and Living with a Firefighter”. In addition to the worry associated with the dangers of the job, this presentation addresses the differences of “at home” and “at the firehouse life”. Just as importantly, in an open forum with participants, we will discuss the difficulties faced by a spouse in many times, being the one to make the decisions of running the household, taking care of the children, and maintaining a career of your own all while doing your part to sustain a strong and healthy relationship. This program is offered to firefighters and their spouses or significant others. Duration: 2 hours

CUSTOMIZED PROGRAMS

Our Team can also deliver special training on other subjects that affect the lives of our firefighters and EMS personnel. Those subjects include, but are not limited to, alcohol and substance abuse, marital issues, anger management, grief and bereavement issues, parenting skills, interpersonal communication and suicide awareness.  Please contact us or phone us at (843) 609-8300  for more information.