12 February 2018

Recent efforts by a variety of individuals and organizations have underscored the absence of high quality longitudinal data to support the mental health needs of Public Safety Personnel.
The phrase Public Safety Personnel is used here to broadly include all of the following (alphabetically): Canadian Border Services, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Correctional Officers, Dispatchers, Emergency Call Centre Operators, Firefighters (including volunteers), Municipal Police Officers, Paramedics, EMTs, EMS Personnel, and RCMP.

Accordingly, with the support of your associations and executive, an independent interdisciplinary team of researchers designed a prevalence survey approximately 18 months ago, in order to provide Canadian public safety personnel with an anonymous voice in the first Canada-wide assessment of operational stress injuries (OSIs). We are now inviting those of you who were involved in the 2016 Alberta Wildfires and participated anonymously before to participate anonymously again, in a shorter survey assessing the longer-term impact of the 2016 Alberta Wildfires. Participation in the following survey will not affect your relationships or status with your organization, agencies of public safety and justice more generally, nor with the different universities and university researchers involved in the study. Participation in this survey is entirely voluntary.

The survey will ask you to reflect on your own mental health, which may be challenging at times, but will add your anonymous voice to those of your peers. The more of you who participate, whether you have mental health challenges or not, the more your collective voice can help support mental health for all public safety personnel.

We currently don’t have reliable or sufficient data on long-term OSI symptoms among Public Safety Personnel. We are counting on you to participate and encourage others to participate because doing so provides evidence for engaging strategies and allocating resources to support mental health for all Public Safety Personnel. Please distribute this e-mail to all currently serving personnel who were involved in the 2016 Alberta wildfires, and encourage them to distribute, ensuring all such personnel are invited.

For more reasons to participate, please visit the website at www.cipsrt-icrtsp.ca.
The survey link is provided below and will take you directly to a secure website that will 1) provide you with more details about the survey and the team and 2) provide instructions on how you can participate anonymously. The entire survey will take you approximately 15-20 minutes; however, if you have lost your previously administered unique identification code, you will be asked to fill out a few additional demographic and symptom questionnaires, adding an extra 10 minutes to the survey length. You can complete the survey in sections or quit at any time. Any time you leave the survey your answers up to that point will be saved on the server, but not your computer.

Link to the Survey: https://uregina.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4SAAhmyRjYsUNO5
We sincerely hope you choose to participate, therein supporting yourself and your peers involved in Wildfires, and allowing us to advocate for appropriate resources to support public safety mental health.

The current research project was approved by your Public Safety leadership teams, as well as the University of Regina Research Ethics Board. If you have any questions before or during participation about the survey, please feel free to ask by contacting the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) research team at www.cipsrt-icrtsp.ca or by email at cipsrt@uregina.ca or by telephone at 306-337-2473 (out of town participants may call collect), or if required the Research Ethics Board by email at research.ethics@uregina.ca.