Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs announce trainer graduates on leading edge mental health program

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) is pleased to announce that forty first responders graduated today from the inaugural, fire service based, Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) train-the-trainer program hosted by Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services.  The R2MR program addresses mental health stigmas and helps identify signs and symptoms of occupational stress injuries.

"Forty fire service personnel are now trained as R2MR trainers.  These trainers, in turn, will train other firefighters and chief officers throughout the province. Our goal is to be able to provide each and every firefighter and chief officer in Ontario with these much-needed skills and tools as this program expands and spreads," said Matt Pegg, President OAFC.  "The R2MR program is a key part of the OAFC taking a proactive approach in our commitment to educate, prevent, and support those impacted by occupational stress injuries."

In May 2015, OAFC members passed a resolution at their annual meeting prioritizing mental health training and education for the fire service.  After a comprehensive review, the R2MR program was chosen by the OAFC, based upon the success of this program in both the military and police services. The R2MR program has a solid foundation in the concepts related to resilience skill building which helps people recover quickly, resist and possibly even thrive in the face of direct/indirect traumatic events and prolonged operational or organizational stressors. Recovery from physical and mental hardships is required throughout the career in the fire service.

"We want firefighters to understand that there is no shame in admitting that they need help," said Tim Beckett, Fire Chief, Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services. "It is essential that all first responders are prepared mentally for the challenges that they will encounter on the job. This course will give those in the fire service the tools they need to recognize a potential issue in themselves and others." 

Two classes for the train-the-trainer course for R2MR were held on February 1 to 5 and February 8 to 12 at Mississauga's Garry W. Morden Centre. The training included fire service personnel from across the province that are now certified to teach this program to fire services throughout Ontario.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs represents the chief fire officers of the 454 municipal fire departments in the Province of Ontario.  Our mission is to lead innovation and excellence in public and firefighter safety. 

SOURCE Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs

For further information: Richard Boyes, Executive Director, OAFC, 905-484-4476, richard.boyes@oafc.on.ca


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