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February 21, 2017

Wounded Warriors Canada Funds BC Fire Fighters Resiliency Pilot Program

February 21, 2017

VANCOUVER – Wounded Warriors Canada is proud to announce their donation to the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association (“BCPFFA”) to fund the Fire Fighters Resiliency Program (“FRP”). The FRP is a peer-based pilot program designed to help firefighters regain and maintain resiliency while dealing with the daily operational stress of their work.  The $6,000 donation from Wounded Warriors Canada offers critical support for the development and refinement of this pilot project. 

The FRP is a collaboration between the BCPFFA Mental Health Task Force and UBC Faculty of Medicine professors, Dr. Duncan Shields and Dr. David Kuhl.  Dr. Shields explains that, “first responders have told us that they prefer to be supported by their peers, who understand them best.  We’re responding to that message by building a program that helps fire fighters to help fellow fire fighters in a peer model, creating the conditions where they can take off the isolating mask of stoicism, connect with peers who understand them, and build the connections and skills that support real-world resiliency”. 

The FRP brings together 8-10 fire fighter peers in a three-day residential retreat to work together as a team, hear each other’s experiences, pick up tools for self-care, and help them to better support their peers.  They are guided by two expert facilitators throughout the program, providing them with the most up-to-date evidence on the mechanisms and impact of operational stress on the brain, body and on relationships, and learn evidence-based tools to maintain resiliency. 

Steve Farina, Chair of the BCPFFA Mental Health Task Force, commented, “We feel there is an urgent need to provide our members a peer-based program to enhance mental health awareness and improve resilience.  This initiative would not be possible without the generosity of Wounded Warriors Canada”.

Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, commented, “Wounded Warriors Canada is committed to supporting our ill and injured First Responders. This innovative partnership has led to the creation of an important peer support program that will help fire fighters build the connections, skills and relationships that support resiliency. We are proud to partner with the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association and thank Dr. Shields and Dr. Kuhl for their clinical guidance and program facilitation.”