Waseca firefighters recently completed a training about their occupational health risks. 

The in-depth emotional wellness training, taught by firefighters and other health experts, April 28 helped Waseca firefighters de-stigmatize talking about their mental health, and provided practical information around how to properly debrief after a difficult call with their team, ways to maintain emotional well-being and what mental health resources are available for those who need help. Emotional trauma is one of the three problems most commonly experienced by those in the fire service, other than cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The training class was hosted by the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE), the statewide advocacy organization that equips firefighters and the people who care about them with resources to address the growing health crisis in the Minnesota fire service. MnFIRE recently received a $400,000 grant from the Fire Service Advisory Committee to train all Minnesota firefighters to become “MnFIRE Aware” of their occupational health risks by June 30. More than 8,000 firefighters have already received the training statewide.

“By participating in this important training, Waseca proved that the health of their hometown heroes is a priority,” MnFIRE President George Esbensen said. “There’s a health crisis in the Minnesota fire service and it’s more important than ever that firefighters across the state are aware of their heightened risk for cardiac, emotional trauma and cancer issues.”

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