Firefighters are competing in Vancouver today at the FireFit Regional Championships and raising awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition that can affect first responders.
This year’s Firefit competition–which organizers say consists of individual competitors and teams completing a series of “firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergency situations”–aims to raise funds for a program to help first responders with PTSD.
“Firefighters struggle with PTSD,” said Nils Gorseth of the Vancouver Firefighters’ Charitable Society. “It’s been a problem due to the nature of our work. We see all manner of emergency incidents and with that all manner of stressful, critical mind-jarring experiences. It’s become apparent in recent years that firefighters and first responders are suffering a higher rate of PTSD than the general population.”
Proceeds from the event will go towards developing a treatment program at Vancouver General Hospital specifically for first responders impacted by PTSD.
“There’s no specific tailored program for first responders here in Western Canada, although there have been similar programs developed elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.,” said Gorseth. “We’re hoping that we can change that and provide that treatment for first responders across B.C.”
Those interested in donating can visit the Vancouver Firefighters’ Charitable Society website.
-with files from Jennifer Palma