Firefighting is not only one of the most physically demanding and dangerous jobs; it also has the potential to take a heavy toll on a person's mental health.
Thanks to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), the Fort Erie Fire Department will have the tools to ensure that the town's firefighters have the mental wellness resources and tools needed when facing challenging situations.
The OAFC has chosen the Fort Erie Fire Department as a recipient of a bursary worth $10,000 to develop a mental health wellness program.
"On behalf of the Fort Erie Fire Department, I want to thank the OAFC for selecting us to receive one of the Mental Wellness Program bursaries. The bursary will help ensure that both our full-time fire employees and volunteer firefighters undergo additional mental health training to help deal with the difficult situations they face in the line of duty," Fort Erie Fire Chief Mark Schmitt said.
"As first responders, mental health is essential to maintain a well-balanced team. The department needs to be not only physically prepared for challenges, but mentally prepared as well."
The Fort Erie Fire Department is one of 20 fire departments across Ontario that the OAFC awarded mental health bursaries to.
“We are thrilled to congratulate the 20 winning fire departments who will now have the opportunity to participate in a mental wellness program of their choice,” said OAFC president and Deputy Fire Chief Rob Grimwood.
The bursaries were possible through the support of A.J. Stone and Safetek Profire, who partnered with the OAFC during the 2019 Charity FUNRaising event to raise monetary donations for the cause.