Author Archives: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].

Firefighter Suicide: We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

We must do better in understanding what causes a firefighter to take their own life, and one place we need to start is by gaining a true picture of what leads a firefighter to take their own life. We can only gain that true picture by conducting research in the form of psychological autopsies, that is, using the proven tools and methodologies of psychology.

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Why is sexism and misogyny still a problem for the fire service? It’s almost 2023!

I posted the following reply to this COURAGEOUS firefighter in the UK who continues to "shine a light" on the sexism and misogyny that apparently "alive and well" in the London Fire Brigade and other fire brigades in the UK. Antonia, do whatever you must do but PLEASE do not let the ba$tards prevail by taking your own life! I hope that the supportive comments in this space are helping you to keep your "head above water!" But it's not solely a problem in the fire service culture in the UK. Sexism and misogyny are both "alive and well" in too many fire departments around the globe, including the U.S. and Canada.

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How to declare and respond to an off-duty mayday

The driving force behind the Firefighter Health and Wellness Conference is Brothers Helping Brothers (BHB), a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 2014. Since its launch, BHB has given out 14 grants to advance its mission of “Helping Small and Rural America, One Fire Department at a Time,” to fire departments in Ohio and surrounding states. The genesis for the conference, according to Nick Magoteaux, founder and co-director of BHB, came in early 2018: “I was doing a fire EMS conference then, and I saw that there was a lot of interest in firefighter cancer. But not much on mental health. So, I got to thinking that mental health was a topic that needed attention.”

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