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Identifying the impact of formal and informal critical incident interventions on firefighters’ exposure to posttraumatic stress injury in a Northwestern Ontario fire service

Keywords: Critical Incident, PTSI

Title of research

Identifying the impact of formal and informal critical incident interventions on firefighters’ exposure to posttraumatic stress injury in a Northwestern Ontario fire service

Summary

Firefighters perform physically demanding work and, like all public safety personnel (PSP), experience higher rates of posttraumatic stress injury (PTSI). These increased levels of PTSI have been linked to critical incident exposures (CIE), such as witnessing a death or managing a call that involves children.

In the Thunder Bay Fire Rescue (TBFR) and Thunder Bay Professional Firefighters’ Association (TBPFFA), previous research has shown that 94% of Thunder Bay firefighters experienced one or more CIE’s in a two month period. The goal of the current study is to determine the positive and negative impacts of a newly implemented CIE management program.

The research team wants to determine:

  • The burden of CIE and PTSI among TBFR members;
  • Differences in experience and impact when firefighters who have experienced a CIE use formal and informal CIE management strategies;
  • The impact of these formal and informal strategies on the Critical Incident Response team.

The results will be shared with Thunder Bay Fire Rescue and its critical incident response team so that, they can see the strengths of the program as well as recommendations for improvements.

 

When to expect results

Preliminary results will be shared at the end-of-grant workshop.

Research team

Dr. Katherine Sinden, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Lakehead University; Regan Bolduc, firefighter and co-chair of Thunder Bay Fire Rescue’s Critical Incident response team.

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