Idaho Falls Fire Department’s TRUST Team Nominated for Two National Awards

The Idaho Falls Fire Department TRUST team has been nominated for two National Fire/EMS Industry Awards for creating a peer support network to protect the well-being of its members .

For the past three years, IFFD has worked alongside the Idaho Falls Police Department (IFPD) to establish a Peer Support Team. Reflecting the model and name of the IFPD, the TRUST (Traumatic Response Unified Support Team) tackles the stigma associated with mental health as well as the heightened concern of the stressors that burden those in the industry of public health and safety.

“We are very fortunate to have local elected officials, administrative staff and medical providers who wholeheartedly support this program. We are also grateful to our public safety partners at IFPD who laid the foundation for the TRUST model upon which our department can build, said IFFD TRUST Fellow Whit Albertson. “Eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness in the fire service is no small feat, but we are committed to providing our personnel with the help they need,” adds Albertson.

As the incidence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts with the fire service increases, the team embarked on a vision to create an environment to help promote and improve mental health and wellbeing. active and recently retired members and their immediate families.

As one of the largest combined fire and EMS departments in the State of Idaho with 125 employees, record calls for service at nearly 18,000 in 2021 and growing demands imposed staff to serve and protect a rapidly growing community, TEAM took action to protect their own.

“Together with our two local hospitals and a local counseling centre, we have put in place measures to protect the privacy of department members from any shame or embarrassment they may feel if they seek help from their colleagues in the health sector”, explains the IFFD TRUST team. member Mike Scadden.

IFFD Fire Chief Duane Nelson says, “The support we have received from our local advice center has been tremendous. Their staff have spent hours working with our public safety services to understand the unique culture and nature of our work, while providing us with the tools and resources to recognize and address challenges our members may encounter. We can never thank them enough. »

The IFFD then began working with a group of local volunteers – the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho – to provide assistance to victims and families following a tragedy. Chaplains – some of whom have previous law and fire experience – have also been trained to assist service members on the spot and/or after a particularly difficult call, such as those involving children.

The passage of Senate Bill 1028 in 2019 made PTSD and PTSI a workers’ compensation claim for first responders, ensuring that claims are no longer the responsibility of the member but rather paid by the State Worker’s Compensation Fund.

IFFD’s TRUST team was a finalist for the 2022 Hooley Awards in the Service category. The Hooley Awards honor innovators and thought leaders, honoring their dedication, creativity and passion, and were created to recognize their contributions to innovation and excellence. The Hooley Awards finalists were honored and celebrated at the awards dinner on July 20 at the 14th Annual ImageTrend Connect Conference in St. Paul, MN.

The IFFD commends Hooley Award winner Tim Seplaki of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services for developing the Five minutes to help you, a program designed to help fight the opioid epidemic. It was an honor to be recognized and nominated by others in the industry.

The TRUST team has also been nominated for the EMS Awards of Excellence via EMS World, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of EMS. This esteemed program has become the gold standard of achievement in the EMS profession. The awards will be presented the week of October 10 in Orlando, Florida.

Photos: 1. Some of the IFFD TRUST team members (left to right): Driver Chase Mills, Captain Nathan McKinney, Firefighter Whit Albertson, Administrative Assistant Amanda Albertson, Public Information Officer Kerry Hammon, Firefighter Nicolas Magliocco.

2. IFFD training stock photo.

3. Paramedic/TRUST team member Mike Scadden, who represented IFFD’s TRUST team at the ImageTrend conference.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are several crisis help lines:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • National Volunteer Firefighters Council Fire/EMS Helpline, 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)
  • Safe Call Now, a confidential and comprehensive 24-hour crisis line and support service for first responders, emergency service personnel, healthcare professionals and their family members nationwide: 1-206-459-3020
  • Suicide.org lists individual state helplines