Los Angeles firefighters and paramedics who experience exceptional emotional turmoil because of the wrenching incidents encountered in their jobs will soon have somewhere to seek relief from the stress they feel.
The city Fire Department will implement its new Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Program on Tuesday. Its aim is to help emergency personnel cope by identifying typical reactions to stress and defusing them through debriefing.
The department's psychologist, Russell Boxley, told the Fire Commission on Thursday that the program, which he helped develop over the last six months, is "probably the largest in the country" with a team of about 60 specially trained department volunteers.
Members of the team will meet with firefighters and paramedics who have been at the scene of a "critical incident," such as a plane crash, death of a department member, the death of a child through violence or neglect, or where the emergency workers themselves have been placed in danger.