By Tara Figurski
Truro Township is looking at a program to prevent firefighter suicides.
Truro Township Fire Chief Steve Hein asked the Truro Township trustees for approval to join FireStrong, a web based organization of professional counselors dealing with behavioral health issues in the fire service.
“It is professionals who are aware of some of the challenges firefighters deal with from day to day,” Hein said. “They can visit a website and obtain some contact information. It would get them pointed in the right direction for help.”
For example, Hein said a firefighter might want to reach out for mental health counseling if they went on a fire run that ended badly. FireStrong can give firefighters a step by step analysis of what the problem is and point the firefighter in the right direction for counseling.
“Maybe it was something that touched you or was something that you had a lot of nightmares about,” Hein said.
Hein said he doesn’t know the percentage of suicides among firefighters compared to the general population, but would imagine suicide is likely higher among firefighters for a variety of factors, including being away from their family for 24 hours at a time or witnessing something in the field.
“We are starting to see more and more articles about firefighter suicide,” Hein said. “This is a very cost effective to provide another tool for firefighters.”
If adopted by the trustee,s the program would cost $750 for the first year and $250 for each year after.
The program could be used by Truro Township firefighters as early as mid-June or early July. Once approved by the trustees, the program would take little effort to get started, Hein said.
Other Truro news
•Hein asked the trustees for permission to establish an eligibility list of part-time firefighters. Several of the township’s part-time firefighters recently accepted full-time positions with other fire departments. Two others were unable to fulfill the part-time hourly commitment for Truro Township and are no longer employed by the township.
Hein said he only has 15 active part-time firefighters. The township allows him to keep 25 part-time firefighters.
•The trustees approved two ordinances approving establishing a Regional Counsel of Governments. The first ordinance establishes the COG and the second ordinance establishes the by-laws of the COG.
The COG is formed pursuant to Chapter 167 of the Ohio Revised Code. Founding members of the COG are political subdivisions whose governing bodies have taken formal action to approve the agreement and by-laws by June 1, 2015.
So far the legislation has been approved by Truro and Violet townships. The COG has yet to be approved by Mifflin, Jefferson and Plain townships, the remaining founding members of the Metropolitan Emergency Consortium Communication dispatching center.