It takes a lot of time and effort to affect culture change. Police,
Firefighters, and EMT’s may have different cultures and seemingly
different values but Police, Fire, and EMS are exposed to very similar
stressed in the course of their duties. Public Safety in general still holds a
culture where it’s not acceptable to discuss one’s feelings, one needs to be
tough, one needs to prove they can handle the stress. The problem is
what happens when you can no longer handle the stress. Often
recognizing that there is a problem is the first step to finding a solution.
We seem to be at the point where we’ve recognized a problem but haven’t
developed a solution just yet. My concentration focuses on Public Safety
Administration and Emergency Medical Services. I can think of few
priorities of a public safety agency administrator as fitness for duty.
Ensuring that one’s employees are capable of helping the public.
Academies do daily PT to prepare a candidate for the physical rigors of
the job and we attend annual physicals but how do we prepare our minds
for the stressors of the job. I’ve developed a hand-full of questions to
answer through research regarding Public Safety responder mental
health in order for me to understand our risks, to understand what
failures and successes we’ve had, and to understand where the
breakdown is. As both a Fire Service Instructor and an Emergency
Medical Services Instructor, I realize that there is virtually no discussion
in entry level training for both the fire service and EMS about mental
health. Eventually I would like to change that. My belief is that the
easiest place to affect culture change is on the ground floor of a career
where there is moldable clay. I believe this project will be an excellent
example of mastery in this concentration primarily because a public
safety administrators most valuable asset is his/her people.

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