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Articles on Firefighters

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Firefighters in Kangaroo Island, South Australia. First responders’ experiences on the front line make them susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems. David Mariuz/AAP

To improve firefighters’ mental health, we can’t wait for them to reach out – we need to ‘reach in’

Emergency service workers already have poorer mental health than the rest of us. In the wake of this bushfire crisis, we need to make the well-being of our first responders a top priority.
Black Saturday firefighters battling flames in Victoria. When we laud fire fighters as heroes, we fail to acknowledge the ongoing impact of the fires. AAP Image/Andrew Brownbill

‘I can still picture the faces’: Black Saturday firefighters want you to listen to them, not call them ‘heroes’

In commemorating firefighters as heroes, we can fall into the danger of overstating their ability to control fires, absolving ourselves of responsibility.
Volunteer firefighting crews have attempted to crowdfund equipment and supplies. AAP Image/Supplied, DFES Incident Photographer Lewis van Bommel

Crowdfunding: when the government fails to act, the public wearily steps up

Farmers seeking relief from the drought and firefighters stretched to their limits have turned to crowdfunding for help. But public appeal shouldn’t replace good governance.
The devastating bushfires are intensifying the pressure on a government already increasingly on the back foot over climate. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Grattan on Friday: When the firies call him out on climate change, Scott Morrison should listen

Emergency Leaders for Climate Action have a simple message: we’re in “a new age of unprecedented bushfire danger” due to climate change. But Morrison refuses to acknowledge it as a central issue.
When faced with a wildfire, responders must act quickly and decisively to save lives. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Making life-or-death decisions is very hard – here’s how we’ve taught people to do it better

Emergency responders and military personnel need to think creatively – even imaginatively – to save lives under pressure. Analyzing the Grenfell Tower Fire in London reveals useful lessons.
Firefighters hose down flames from an advancing wildfire July 28, 2018, in Redding, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A high-adrenaline job: 5 questions answered about fighting wildfires

Wildland firefighting has always been a risky job, but development in fire-prone areas is making it more dangerous by putting forest firefighters in situations they are not equipped or trained for.

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