A recent article in The Economist caught my attention because the headline was strikingly similar to a video segment I was in the midst of producing. The title of the magazine article: Why Are More Americans Killing Themselves? The segment my team was creating featured a South Florida firefighter taking unusual athletic steps to raise awareness about firefighters and other first responders taking their own lives.
This firefighter had decided to run in a half-marathon wearing his full bunker gear. The total weight for those items, including a tank and helmet? 75 pounds! A half-marathon is 13.1 miles. Sounds crazy, right?
Well, the firefighter DID manage to finish the half-marathon without needing medical attention from colleagues. And his efforts paid off. The spectacle of joining thousands of other runners while wearing bunker gear did catch the attention of local media crews, who offered some coverage of the story and the issue.
But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find the frequency of suicides for members of the fire service — first responders who are putting their lives at risk on a daily basis — are rising across the country.
As business professionals and thought leaders in our communities this issue is one which affects everyone. After all, it is our first responders who take care of our employees and colleagues, friends and families and others we do business with on a regular basis. If the very people trained to make sure we are safe are facing crisis then all of us stand to suffer the consequences.
Something to think about…
Link to associated story: http://youtu.be/jdupZ6Uhudo