FIREFIGHTER SUPPORT TEAMS
One of the unique areas that the Myrtle Beach Fire Department offers is an awareness of the mental health and stability of its Firefighters. There are several members of the department that serve on a very unique set of teams titled the
Firefighter Assistance Support Team & Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team
F . A . S . T .
F.A.S.T. is a program dedicated to the emotional health and well-being of Firefighters and their families. F.A.S.T. is available to all Firefighters and their families that are struggling with any degree of difficulty. These difficulties may include past incidents, alcoholism, substance abuse, marital issues, grieving and finance issues. The spectrum of difficulties Firefighters and their families face are challenging and unique.
Members of F.A.S.T. are not judgemental. They are not doctors. They are not psychiatrists. The members are made up of Fire Service peers.
They have a direct understanding and connection to the unique difficulties that may plague an individual or their families. It becomes much easier to show vulnerability to someone that may have experienced similar struggles. The members are extensively trained to be able to recognize symptoms and how to be active listeners.
The goal is to help those who are struggling how to manage and cope with those difficulties and move forward in their lives in a
positive and healthy way.
The Myrtle Beach Fire Department also has a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team
C . I . S . D .
The Myrtle Beach Fire Department recognizes the numerous emotional hazards that may be encountered in emergency operations. To provide the firefighter with the utmost in assistance when needed, a Critical Incident Stress Management Team will be established and on call 24-hours a day. The team’s main function is to defuse emotional hardship following a critical incident and prevent its harmful effects; provide an atmosphere for airing of emotions and feelings; prevent the onset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; increase the firefighters’ resistance and resilience to this type of stress; refer employees to the appropriate channels if further assistance is required.
The Fire Service is a very unique profession that does not always fit into traditional ways of life. Firefighters see, hear and carry with them experiences and memories that people outside of the Fire Service cannot, and should not, fathom.
Through these programs of peer support, there have been countless numbers of individuals that have found a certain peace with the challenges that they have faced.
It is part of a Firefighter's Duty and Honor to reach out to our own and to make sure
WE can lead a fulfilling and joyful life.