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Understanding and Coping with First Responder Stress: Free Online Resource

*Editor’s note: The free resource below is offered as part of AMU’s series on stress and wellness in public safety. To access the law enforcement version, click here.

By Anthony S. Mangeri, Sr.

Firefighters and pre-hospital providers respond to traumatic incidents that can be mentally and emotionally demanding. For many years, emergency services personnel were expected to accept that stress was part of the job and “just deal with it.”

Thankfully, this mindset is changing and soon may no longer be the norm. Across the U.S., fire and EMS departments have realized they need to develop a culture that encourages responders to build resiliency to properly manage their stress. Nevertheless, there is still much more work to be done.

As firefighters and EMTs, we must learn more about stress and its impact on the mind, body and spirit. We must take better care of ourselves and each other by learning how to recognize the signs of stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Departments and family members must also get involved.

To help continue this important conversation, American Military University, in collaboration with FireRescue1, created a free online magazine for firefighters and EMS personnel.

The articles in the first half of the publication are designed to provide insight into first responder stress and how it can influence mental, physical and emotional health. The second half provides resources and solutions to help firefighters—and fire departments—develop programs and strategies to help individuals manage stress before it becomes a problem.

It is our hope that you will use this information to open a dialogue about workplace stress and how to better manage it both in the station and at home.


About the Author: Anthony S. Mangeri, Sr., MPA, CEM, EMT has more than 30 years of experience in emergency management and public safety operations. He reached the rank of Assistant Fire Chief-Safety Officer. Currently, he is the Director of Strategic Relations for Fire and Emergency Services at American Military University. Anthony is on the faculty in the School of Security and Global Studies. He also serves on the Fire & Life Safety Council of ASIS International and Vice-President of the International Association of Emergency Managers Region 2.

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