PAR-10-272 Organization: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) Principal Investigator: Richard Gist, PhD Project title: Generating Strategies and Materials to Support Suicide Prevention and Intervention in the Fire Service The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) seeks to sponsor a 2 day conference in October 2013 involving approximately 40 representatives of major fire service constituency organizations to develop its strategic plan to address issues of depression and suicide among fire and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. NFFF's work in developing and disseminating evidence-based strategies for occupational behavioral health has achieved prominence among fire service and EMS organizations. Responding to industry concerns regarding suicide and depression, NFFF sponsored a preliminary summit meeting in July 2011 in which three of the nation's leading research and practice voices in the area of suicide provided approximately 50 industry leaders with thorough overviews of the state of the art and science in this domain. The resulting white paper has served as an industry primer for understanding a complex problem for which solutions have been elusive. This conference, modeled after the consensus process proven successful in earlier behavioral health projects, seeks to identify points where intervention may prove productive and design specific projects to bring evidence- informed resources to bear in effective, efficacious, and cost-efficient fashions specifically suited to fire and EMS populations and settings. The conference is proposed for October 2013 at the Sheraton Four Points adjacent to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, site of previous NFFF consensus meetings and conferences related to behavioral health. The proposed structure of the conference begins with a keynote from a recognized industry leader, followed by an overview of findings and recommendations from the 2011 industry summit and an update on recent efforts within the industry. The remainder of the time will be spent on identification of specific intervention options and pathways for their development and implementation, with the objective of creating products suited for direct application at the local level. Principal participants in the consensus panels will be representatives of six leading research and practice organizations active areas related to the subject domain and six fire service and EMS constituency groups vested in occupational behavioral health. Additional invitees will be drawn from participants in the 2011 summit.
Suicide is recognized as a substantial public health problem in the United States. Recent suicide clusters have been reported involving several major departments, leading to a growing perception of urgency among fire service and EMS organizations. Despite this perceived escalation, there has been limited empirical study of occupationally specific risk and no empirically grounded programming mounted to understand and address the problem within the industry. An innovative industry summit conducted in 2011 identified critical issues and generated a series of recommendations with respect to addressing suicidality in fire and EMS workers. The intent of the summit was to stimulate research and action leading to the generation of solidly evidence informed strategies for implementation by fire and EMS organizations that could be delivered in effective, efficacious, and cost efficient fashions at the local level. Using strategies proven effective in its groundbreaking work addressing broader occupational behavioral health issues in the industry, the NFFF is proposing this project to help translate the findings and recommendations of the summit into practical products and strategies for industry- wide dissemination.