Make the Call to Make Things Better
Firefighters and EMS personnel face many unique challenges that can have a significant impact on their behavioral health. To ensure these individuals and their families have access to the help they need, the NVFC teamed up with American Addiction Centers (AAC) to create a free, confidential helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Fire/EMS Helpline can serve as an individual resource, or departments can offer it as an Employee Assistance Program for their members. The key difference of the Fire/EMS Helpline is that it was created for first responders by members of the fire service. This program is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of firefighters, EMTs, rescue personnel, and their families.
First responders and their families can call the Fire/EMS Helpline any time day or night to seek help for a variety of behavioral health issues. These may include alcohol or drug addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, PTSD, stress caused by financial management issues or legal problems, relationship issues, work-related concerns, or psychological issues.
When you call, you will receive compassionate, non-judgmental support you can trust. Depending on your individual needs, you can speak with a trained counselor who understands what you are going through, you can be referred to local resources to help with your specific problem, or you can be admitted to a treatment facility where there are licensed counselors trained in the fire service culture. If a treatment center is needed, the Fire/EMS Helpline will work with your insurance to make sure there is no cost to you.
What to Expect When You Call
- The first step in getting help is to make the call. Simply call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) any time day or night. Calls are free and confidential.
- Press “1” and a skilled, trained Intake Counselor will answer your call. Make sure you identify yourself as a firefighter, EMT, or family member of the fire service.
- The Intake Counselor will listen to your problems and concerns and identify local resources in your area, or when appropriate, locate national treatment options that work within your needs and insurance capabilities. The licensed counselors at AAC treatment facilities have undergone intensive training specifically on the culture and needs of the fire service.
About the Founders
The Fire/EMS Helpline was developed by fire service veterans Mike Blackburn and Mike Healy. Based on their own professional and personal experiences, both recognized the need for firefighters to be able to reach out when they need help. The Fire/EMS Helpline allows firefighters, EMTs, and their families to talk to trained professionals that understand the special needs of the fire and emergency services.
Note: An online chat feature is also available from American Addiction Centers. Go to http://americanaddictioncenters.org/fire-services/ and click on the Live Chat button. Identify yourself as a firefighter or EMS provider so they can connect you to someone from the Fire/EMS Helpline.