PTSI Top Concern for Local 920 Board
Elected officials for Local 920 met for their annual general meeting (AGM) on June 21 and 22 in Lindsay, Ontario. The 11 participants came from volunteer firefighter departments across the province to discuss a variety of topics important to the volunteer firefighters of Local 920. The next board meeting will be scheduled for late spring 2020 in Clarence-Rockland. Here is a summary of key issues discussed during this year’s AGM.
Posttraumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI)
Board members shared a number of strategies being used in each region to deal with the challenge of PTSI.
Training volunteers on Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program, which creates awareness of mental illness and operational stress injuries
Using the services of After the Call, a third-party mental health consultant that gives presentations and debriefing as well as providing tools and support to volunteers
Employee and family assistance program counsellors talking to volunteers
Growing the Incident and Stress Management team in each station and providing an active peer support network
Seeking more support from the community and available services
PTSI and WSIB
Currently, WSIB requires expert diagnosis and a trigger event and this is a challenge. Therefore, documentation of all relevant experiences is essential. Local 911 has 50 years of claim reports and backup documentation, including names of those attending calls. A WSIB Form 6 should be filled out after each call to support potential claims in the future.
Section 21 Committee appointment is being sought to allow a volunteer firefighter to discuss health and safety best practices and put them into law.
NFPA 1500 Decontamination Cancer Prevention
Opportunities to educate volunteers regarding best practices were discussed. Hydrogen cyanide detectors are used in some areas for structure fires. Some stations have only one set of gear per volunteer and others have two each.