Fire/EMS Helpline: 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)
Please note: An online chat feature is now also available as part of the Fire/EMS Helpline. Go to http://americanaddictioncenters.org/fire-services/ and click on the Live Chat button at the top of the page.
Make the Call to Make Things Better
Firefighters and EMS personnel face many unique challenges that can have a significant impact on their behavioral health. To ensure these individuals and their families have access to the help they need, the NVFC teamed up with American Addiction Centers (AAC) to create a free, confidential helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Fire/EMS Helpline can serve as an individual resource, or departments can offer it as an Employee Assistance Program for their members. The key difference of the Fire/EMS Helpline is that it was created for first responders by members of the fire service. This program is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of firefighters, EMTs, rescue personnel, and their families.
First responders and their families can call the Fire/EMS Helpline any time day or night to seek help for a variety of behavioral health issues. These may include alcohol or drug addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, PTSD, stress caused by financial management issues or legal problems, relationship issues, work-related concerns, or psychological issues.
When you call, you will receive compassionate, non-judgmental support you can trust. Depending on your individual needs, you can speak with a trained fire service member who understands what you are going through, you can be referred to local resources to help with your specific problem, or you can be admitted to a treatment facility where there are licensed counselors trained in the fire service culture. If a treatment center is needed, the Fire/EMS Helpline will work with your insurance to make sure there is no cost to you.
What to Expect When You Call
- The first step in getting help is to make the call. Simply call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) any time day or night. Calls are free and confidential.
- A skilled, trained Intake Counselor will answer your call. Make sure you identify yourself as a firefighter, EMT, or family member of the fire service.
- The Intake Counselor will listen to your problems and concerns and identify local resources in your area, or when appropriate, locate national treatment options that work within your needs and insurance capabilities. Trained assistance professionals who are members of the fire service are available to talk, and the licensed counselors at AAC treatment facilities have undergone intensive training specifically on the culture and needs of the fire service.
About the Founders
The Fire/EMS Helpline was developed by fire service veterans Mike Blackburn and Mike Healy. Based on their own professional and personal experiences, both recognized the need for firefighters to be able to reach out to other firefighters when they need help. The Fire/EMS Helpline allows firefighters, EMTs, and their families to talk to trained professionals that understand what they are going through and who can relate to the special needs of the fire and emergency services.
Mike Blackburn, CEAP, LADC-1, SAP, is a retired Rhode Island Fire Department Battalion Chief. He currently serves as AAC’s Senior Vice President of Business Development and is a nationally Certified Employee Assistance Professional, a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and a Substance Abuse Professional. He has extensive training in providing Critical Incident Management and spent six weeks at Ground Zero providing Stress/Critical Incident leadership to firefighters.
Mike Healy, CEAP, LAP-C, SAP, has over 40 years in the volunteer fire service and is a current and past chief. He is a member of the Rockland County, NY, Critical Incident Stress team, is the coordinator of Fire Education at the Rockland County Fire Training Center, and is a New York State Fire Instructor. He is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional, a Labor Assistance Professional-Certified, and a Substance Abuse Professional. He retired as Clinical Director of the NYCTA-TWU Assistance Program and now serves as a treatment consultant for American Addiction Centers.