First Responder wellness and resiliency is a priority for District 7 Fire & Rescue. First Responders face significant stressors due to their job and deal with the same personal and family stressors as anyone. In December 2020, District 7 Fire & Rescue and the San Antonio 100 Club sponsored an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) “Train the Trainer” for 13 Peer Support personnel. This training teaches people to connect, ask about suicide and create a “Safe For Now” plan while assisting those in need to access community resources.
First Responders can use these skills when providing peer support and when providing care to patients during emergency calls. These skills are not learned in the First Responder Academies or EMT/Paramedic school.
To address issues and provide support to First Responders and their families, District 7 has hosted two ASIST courses. Facilitators of the April and May courses were Denise Thompson, District 7 Director, Resiliency & Peer Support, and Dennis Kelley, Director, Karnes County EMS. Personnel attending the April and May courses represented District 7, BC ESD 2, BC ESD 5, BC ESD 8, Helotes FD, Karnes County EMS, Leon Valley PD/FD mental health/peer support, and several First Responder Chaplains.
Asking someone if they are thinking of suicide may be one of the most difficult questions to ask. This question saves lives. The more people trained to ask, the more people who are provided an opportunity to share thoughts of suicide and be supported in seeking community resources, the more lives are saved.
Anyone can attend these ASIST courses, email Denise @firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.