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Firefighters learn to recognize signs of potential suicide and take action to prevent it

Posted Jan. 22, 2020

a fire truck
Nearly 1,000 Fort Worth firefighters will undergo training in suicide prevention.

In 2015, more firefighters and police officers died by suicide than in the line of duty. That was the first year for that tragic and startling statistic. It has held true every year since.

According to a report published in 2017 by the Ruderman Family Foundation, almost 250 firefighters and police officers died by suicide in 2016 compared to just over 200 who died in the line of duty. Unfortunately, those numbers may not be accurate because the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance estimates that only 40%-45% of firefighter suicides are reported.

“The members of The Fort Worth Fire Department are highly skilled, well trained and prepared to give their all for others,” said Fort Worth Fire Chief James Davis. “While they understand that risk, the expectations of the occupation place them at risk of stress, anxiety and depression. Suicide has become a great issue of concern in the fire service, outpacing line-of-duty death since 2015.”

In response to the crisis, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, through a donation provided by Bell Flight, is providing training for the entire Fort Worth Fire Department. The class aims to teach individuals how to recognize signs of suicidal ideology and how to take action to prevent suicide. While the focus is to educate firefighters about their peers and their families, it also gives them tools to take into the community and provide a higher level of service to residents.

“The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training provides an easy-to-remember method for approaching the uncomfortableness of discussing this issue with people potentially at risk for harming themselves,” Davis said. “The FWFD shares the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation mission to eradicate suicide in our community. We appreciate the efforts of Tom and Ellen Harris in the memory of their daughter, and we thank Bell Flight for their gracious financial support to make this training available to our firefighters and emergency medical technicians.”

QPR training will be taught in 75 sessions to accommodate nearly 1,000 firefighters. Classes are being taught by individuals from three local organizations: the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, 22Kill/Stay the Course (a counseling group for first responders, veterans and their families) and the Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors team.

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Library to host free Orchestra concert: 2 p.m. Feb. 23, 2020; Fort Worth Public Library, 500 W. 3rd Street.

Building Standards Commission Pre-Meeting: 9 a.m. Feb. 24, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Building Standards Commission Meeting: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 24, 2020; City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Trinity Metro Board of Directors Meeting: 3:30 p.m. Feb. 24, 2020; Fort Worth Central Station, Downtown Fort Worth, 2nd Floor Community Room, 1001 Jones St.
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Altamesa Boulevard Sidewalks Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 24, 2020; Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Canceled Disciplinary Appeal of Two-Day Suspension of Timothy Fornash: 9 a.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Camellia Room, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
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Meet and Confer Negotiations between the City of Fort Worth and Fort Worth Police Officers Association: 2 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Bob Boen Public Safety Complex, Police Training Classroom No. 1135, 505 W Felix St.
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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Donnelly Avenue & Sanguinet Street Sidewalks Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; Amon Carter Center at Lena Pope, 3200 Sanguinet St.

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. Feb. 25, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Warrant Forgiveness: 9 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Boys & Girls Club, 3123 Avenue G..

Fort Worth Sports Authority, Inc. Board Meeting: 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Fort Worth Convention Center, Executive Board Room, 1201 Houston St.
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Metropolitan Area EMS Authority DBA MedStar Mobile Healthcare Board of Directors: 10 a.m. Feb. 26, 2020; MedStar Mobile Healthcare, 2900 Alta Mere Drive.
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City Plan Commission Work Session: noon Feb. 26, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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City Plan Commission Public Hearing: 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
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Park and Recreation Advisory Board Work Session: 3 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Ganden Blvd.
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Park and Recreation Advisory Board Meeting: 4 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
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Beach & Basswood Intersection Improvements Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 26, 2020; Summerglen Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd.

Warrant Forgiveness : 9 a.m. Feb. 27, 2020; Como Community Center, 4660 Horne St.

The Regional Transportation Council Meeting: 10 a.m. Feb. 27, 2020; The Transportation Council Room, 1st Floor, North Central Texas Council of Governments, 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, TX 76011.
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Marine Creek Ranch Park Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Feb. 27, 2020; Parkview Elementary School, 6225 Crystal Lake Drive.

Deferred Compensation Oversight Committee: 9 a.m. Feb. 28, 2020; Fort Worth Credit Union Board Room, 2309 Montgomery St.
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