Training for First Responders

Stress First Aid

First responders are faced with a myriad of stressors that go beyond what the general population may experience. The effects of first responder stress events can factor into behavioral health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and depression. Resources available today, like Stress First Aid (SFA), address the unique stressors related to first responders and build on the strengths of first responders, including a sense of belonging, support from one another and a strong sense of purpose.

SFA is a flexible set of tools used to care for stress reactions in fire and EMS personnel. Unlike other acute stress management procedures, SFA was designed specifically to support firefighters and EMS personnel. The goal of SFA is to restore health and readiness after a stress reaction. SFA is a toolkit that emphasizes the importance of continuously monitoring the stress of fire and rescue personnel, to quickly recognize and appropriately help individuals who are reacting to stress and are in need of interventions to promote healing.


Stress First Aid (SFA) Awareness90 minutes
Participants will be taught:
  • The basic foundation of SFA
  • The skills to implement the SFA model for individuals in crisis
Stress First Aid (SFA) for Leadership – 90 Minutes
Participants will learn how to:
  • Incorporate SFA into existing health/safety/wellness programming
  • Discuss program implementation challenges
  • Identify areas of work needed prior to implementation
  • Discuss leaders’ need to manage their own stress
  • Identify tools leaders can use to maintain their own wellness, as well as physical and behavioral health
  • Discuss leaders’ imperative to act on self or member behavioral health challenges
Stress First Aid (SFA) Train-the-Trainer—Full Course (2 days)
Participants will discover how to:
  • Better understand the needs of individuals affected by stress
  • Better manage their own stress
  • Engage in more helpful peer support
  • Create peer support and behavioral health programs
  • Develop skills to implement the SFA model for individuals in crisis


Regional Fire Service Cancer Seminars

Regional Cancer Seminars will be offered by the First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE) in partnership with the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). Based upon the 2017 FSOCA Cancer Symposium, these one-day events will provide stakeholders with an update on the current state of fire service occupational cancer and research, prevention trainings, best practices, information related to benefits and cancer presumptive legislation, and awareness of resources available to both departments and individual firefighters.


Glen Allen, VA 3.27.2021


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