Fire season is upon us, and your department is likely gearing up for deployment. In addition to readying your equipment, apparatus and personnel, there’s another important facet of summertime preparation: Your family!
Dr. Rachelle Zemlok, a strategic wellness director with Lexipol, has developed some timely videos to share with your agency to help get families ready for the busy time ahead. Feel free to share these videos with family members and friends so everyone in your circle can be more aware of the challenges of fire season.
Preparing Your Support System
We never know when a deployment will happen or how long it will last, so it’s critical to come up with a plan and communicate it to others before help is needed. Identify what your biggest challenges will be and which members of your circle of family and friends might be willing to help.
Preparing Your Children
Structure and predictability are important for your children’s well-being, and fire deployments can disrupt their lives and cause anxiety. Sitting down with your children and explaining the unpredictability of fire season can help them stay grounded when the inevitable occurs.
One of the biggest challenges of fire season is finding the right balance in the amount of information you consume and share with others about a deployment. Making connections with other firefighter families can be very helpful. Also, self-care is crucial to maintaining a healthy outlook.
Firefighter Mental Health
The stress of unpredictable, extended deployments that accompany fire season can take a dramatic toll on firefighters’ mental health. Being away from your family only compounds the impact. Monitor your thoughts and behaviors for signs of emotional stress, and please reach out for help if you need it.
If your agency subscribes to Lexipol’s Cordico wellness solution, you can get even more in-depth content from Dr. Zemlok and others, with further guidance on making these important preparations. Find “Fire Season Family Preparation” in the Firefighter Wellness Toolkit of your Cordico app.