Video made in South Ga. aims to help prevent first responder suicides

Video made in South Ga. aims to help prevent first responder suicides
Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - With jobs as intense as first responders have, some can experience thoughts of self-harm. That’s why the president of the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs is now promoting a video aimed at preventing the loss of life for those that protect us on a daily basis.

“Thank you for having me. First of all, there’s PTSD, which is commonly heard throughout all of our society, but it seems to be on the grow in public safety as a whole, whether that’s fire, police, EMS or 911,” President of the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs, David Eddins said. “And ultimately, the worse side effect of PTSD is suicide. And we are seeing that the numbers aren’t accurate because it’s not being reported as that with public safety. But it only takes to getting in a group of public safety officials from around the state or around the country, and bring that subject up and you’ll hear me too. So we had one in our department we had. One in ours. In the process of putting this video together, unfortunately, Ware County had to and to protect them. I’m just not going to bring up names or incidences, but we had two and if it can happen in our small community, it can happen anywhere and it’s not just a large city occurrence. It happens anywhere.”

Now you’ve made this video to try to help, how do you hope for how will first responders see it?

“We have it on the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs. You’ll have to spell it out Facebook page or the YouTube channel. And the idea behind this is that we learn to in public safety that it’s OK to say I’m not OK and we may look at ourselves as the society sees us as heroes. And if we say something, we’re weak. When I started in the fire service almost 36 years ago, this wasn’t a discussion that you openly had. If you saw something and it affected you, you had to keep quiet about it out of fear that people would think you were weak. And we need to make sure that first responders understand that’s the furthest thing from the point there. They need to speak up. They need to seek help. When they seek that help, that help does not that that does not come back to the department, that people know their Ave. Use that I don’t even I didn’t even know that as a Fire Chief that someone would seek help. They can do it through their human resources. They can go through their churches, but there’s avenues and we just want to make sure that people understand that. And a great thing that has happened here recently is the federal government coming out with the 988 number, used to as a 10-digit number. But now, they have 988. It’s easier for folks to remember, just like 911 for calling for emergencies. The 988 and it’s not just for public safety, it’s for anybody. So there may be family members of public safety or just the average citizen that has issues. Call 988, they’ll get you in touch with the person.”

Chief David Eddins, the president of the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs, thank you very much for what you’re doing, trying to help first responders.

“We just asked if anybody watches that video, just share it. You never know who’s going to see it and who it’ll help,” Eddins said.

Watch the video below: