Suicide in the Wildland Fire Service

Firefighters, as an inescapable consequence of their calling, learn to confront fear and accept their own mortality. Most have addressed pain and have developed a tolerance. But when those protections, for whatever reason, are weakened and other factors in the firefighter’s life serve to compound risk, the capacity to actually take that final action may be greater. Read More

Accordingly, it is not necessarily that firefighters die by suicide at greater rates than others, but rather the factors known to affect anyone’s life can become all the more difficult for a firefighter. If the bonds and perceptions that make the occupation so attractive and compelling are lessened or lost, such as crew disbanded for winter, seasonal layoffs, injury, retirement, etc. it may sever them from the protective factors of belonging and purpose that the fire service so richly provides. Depending on the factors in their world, the impact of that separation may be all the more acute and the sense of loss all the more profound.

Suicide Intervention Strategies That May Save a Life

If Your Are Thinking About Suicide......Read this First

If you suspect that someone is considering suicide, it is critical you take the following actions. Click here: Save A Life

If you suspect that someone you care about is considering suicide, help is available to support you in helping to intervene. Please call 911 and ask to be connected to your local crisis help line or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention

Prevention, Intervention and Postvention (PIP) are the three areas of focus when working in the area of suicide. They can be understood as the before, during and after experiences of thoughts of suicide, attempts or death.

Suicide Intervention is a direct effort to prevent a person or persons from attempting to take their own life or lives intentionally. Suicide intervention is the most frequent mental health emergency. The goal of crisis intervention in this case is to mitigate the suicidal behavior and keep the individual alive so that a stable state can be reached and alternatives to suicide can be explored. In other words, the goal is to help the individual(s) reduce distress and survive the crisis.


Suicide Postvention

Suicide Postvention is crisis intervention and other support offered after a suicide to affected individuals or the workplace as a whole to alleviate possible negative effects of the event. The goals of postvetion are to provide support for normal grief process, minimize complicated grief and guilt reactions, reduce the risk of further suicidal behavior, and to connect employees, family and friends to health and mental health providers if needed.

The loss of someone by suicide is shocking, painful, and unexpected. Survivors, including whole communities and organizations, may experience a broad range of emotions including denial, anger, blame, guilt, helplessness, and confusion.

One of the dangers of a suicide is that others may be so overwhelmed by these emotions that they too try to take their own life. This situation is referred to as suicide contagion and when it occurs, can be just as devastating. Suicide contagion often referred to as "copycat suicide" is real and it is crucial to provide crisis intervention or counseling after a suicide.

Notice: This informational website is not intended as a crisis response or hotline. Local crisis hotline numbers can be found in the front of your local phone book or call 911.


About Suicide

Preventing Suicide

Knowledge is the key to action. Studies indicate that the most promising way to prevent suicide and suicidal behavior is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses. There is no typical victim of suicide. Anyone, no matter what their age, income, job status, or family relationships could potentially be a suicide completer. In many cases suicide is an impulsive decision. Fortunately, there are some warning signs that can help you recognize a person in crisis. Read More


    Native American Suicide

    native american

    The content of this guide represents a gathering of wisdom from many sources. Many Native individuals as well as many other caring individuals and organizations graciously shared their knowledge and experiences. Read More

    veteran suicide

    Veteran Suicide

    A veteran who is recently released from active duty, reserve, or National Guard is often one who has experienced wars of the last decade.

    Deployments bring exposure to long periods of numbing routine with time to worry about crises occurring at home, interspersed with moments of extreme violence and death. Read More

Additional Information

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

cism » Read More

Defense Center of Excellence

» Read More

Share the Load

suicide » Read More

Geograhpic Area CISM Information

Follow Us on Wildland Fire and Aviation Critical Incident Stress Peer Support!!!!

» Read More

Employee Assistance Programs

Other Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


1-800-273-TALK (8255)

» Read More

National Helpline


Free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.

» Read More

Veterans Crisis Line

veterans Read More

Disaster Distress Lifeline

disaster Crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

Read More

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Branch of Wildland Fire Management

3833 South Development Avenue t malesuada Boise, ID 83705

usa gov logo

blm logo