Fisher Fire Department completes training to become ‘MnFIRE Aware’

Times Report
Crookston Times

    The Fisher Fire Department joined a growing list of Minnesota fire departments becoming “MnFIRE Aware” of their occupational health risks on March 25.

    The training, taught by firefighters and other health experts, gave Fisher firefighters actionable tips on how to protect themselves from the three problems most commonly experienced by those in the fire service – cardiac, emotional trauma and cancer – so they can continue to protect others.

    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 (FSAC) to train all Minnesota firefighters to become “MnFIRE Aware” of their occupational health risks by June 30, 2021. The Fisher Fire Department joins a list of more than 8,000 firefighters who have already received the training statewide.

    “By participating in this important training, Fisher proved that the health of their hometown heroes is a priority,” says George Esbensen, MnFIRE president. “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.”

    More and more Minnesota firefighters are losing their lives due to occupational health issues. In addition to cancer and cardiac-related deaths, four to six active Minnesota firefighters die from suicide each year.

    In addition to conducting MnFIRE Aware Trainings both in person and online at no cost to departments, MnFIRE offers a confidential, toll-free helpline (888-784-6634) for firefighters in crisis. The nonprofit is also spearheading a legislative initiative to improve access to care for firefighters in need of treatment for cancer, cardiac and emotional trauma issues - the Hometown Heroes Assistance Program, which is planned to be introduced during the 2021 legislative session. Learn more at MNFireInitiative.com.

    Since its inception in 2016, the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE) has been dedicated to providing Minnesota's firefighters with the tools they need to prioritize and protect their health by focusing on the three health problems most commonly experienced by those in the fire service: cancer, cardiac and emotional trauma. In addition to spearheading the legislative initiative, MnFIRE trains Minnesota firefighters to become “MnFIRE Aware” of their higher risks for cancer, cardiac issues and emotional trauma. The organization has already trained 389 departments, reaching more than 8,000 firefighters across Minnesota. The organization launched a 24-hour peer support hotline for firefighters struggling with mental health issues in 2018. For more information, visit MNFireInitiative.com.