Information for Firefighters
Following an experience of a critical incident at work, an EAP professional may check in with you about your recovery. They may ask you informal questions about how you have been feeling and your thoughts about returning to work at that time. The EAP provider may give you education about what firefighters typically experience after a critical incident that has elements similar to what you may have experienced. Often, EAP providers also offer resources such as peer support or information on other programs that are available to you.
If you have taken time off to recover after a critical incident, the EAP provider will check in with you several days later and ask more specific questions about how you have been affected mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. It is important to be honest with them so that they can be aware of your needs and offer you the support that you need. At this time they will again discuss your thoughts about returning to work.
Prior to returning to work after a critical incident, the EAP provider may conduct a formal screen or assessment. This may include having you answer questions about your distress and reactions to the incident. This assessment will allow the EAP provider to work with you to determine how to move forward. At this point you may be able to return to work or the EAP provider may discuss referrals to behavioral health treatment with you.
Your EAP provider may check in with you several more times to see how you are doing and determine if they can offer any additional services for you.
Below are several symptoms that are common after experiencing a critical incident. If you are experiencing several of these symptoms or if these symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, you may consider reaching out to an EAP provider:
- fear or anxiety
- feeling like you are reliving the incident (e.g., vivid memories, nightmares, flashbacks)
- avoiding thoughts, feelings, or situations related to the incident
- increased arousal such as feeling jumpy, impatient, and irritable
- having less interest in doing things you once enjoyed
- feelings of guilt or shame
- having negative thoughts about yourself or other people, or a negative view of the world
- increased use of alcohol or drugs