Monday, June 27

FF Suicides, Remembering Boston

Reposted from
As you read yesterday, Philadelphia Firefighter John "Jack" Slivinski Jr. lost his life to suicide. A beloved Firefighter, he had followed his father into PFD's Rescue 1, but on Saturday, the former Marine was found dead. He was found, reportedly, by his father, Jack Sr, who is still an active Firefighter. Jack Sr also had served in Rescue 1, and the son slept in his old bunk. Word is that they were inseparable. They did everything together.

In 2004, a friend of Slivinski's, Lt. Derrick Harvey, died when he went into a house fire to help Slivinski and another Firefighter. A friend said Slivinski kept a small memorial to Harvey in his home, using Harvey's helmet. Besides his Dad, he is survived by his wife, Carla; his mother, Gerry; and a sister, Jennifer Wysocki.
In our area (greater Cincinnati) we also had a young and very promising Firefighter/Paramedic take his own life last week. The young Firefighter was dealing with some personal issues and, for reasons that perhaps we'll never know, took his own life. He too was "close" to an actual Line of Duty death issue as was FF Slivinski, in Philadelphia.

Suicide is a very real issue in our service-but one we struggle to talk about, reach out about-or certainly even deal with personally. But it is very real. It may be easy to suggest people "suck it up" - but it's not that simple. Whatever the issue is, it is their issue, not ours or yours-but one we can sometimes help with when we sense "something" is wrong. Suicide is pretty subjective, in other words, what may be a "life ending" consideration for some people may be something that you and I may be able to blow off. It all depends on how we each cope with "stuff", the reasons are as different as people are different - but without question, it is an issue in our business.

For example, 4 Phoenix Firefighters took their own lives in a 7 month period:
Here is a USA Today article on rescuer suicide:

HERE is information from the IAFF on SUICIDE:

So who knows what happens to cause suicide? We certainly don't. But what we do know is that there is help out there. We also know that in this extremely "busy" world, it may be easy to miss signs-if there are any. It may also be nearly impossible for those contemplating taking their own life to reach out, when they think those who care are simply to busy. They don't wanna bother you. They don't want to be a burden. They...whatever.

Look, I am about as far removed from being a mental health professional as they come. But I do know folks who do know. They have very personally been there. They can help. They have time.

We have tried to raise the issue and provide some level of support on our Fire Fighter Close Calls PERSONAL SURVIVAL Page, which is coordinated by Chief Pat Kenny.
HERE is the FFCC page information:
HERE are the actual FFCC page and articles:
HERE is the National Website:

The NFFF is hosting an invitation only (due to logistics) symposium on suicide (and related mental health) in the fire service on July 12th and 13th in Baltimore Md. The nation's leading researchers/practitioners will be in attendance including representatives of the following fire and EMS organizations:

International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO
International Association of Fire Chiefs
National Volunteer Fire Council
National Associations of EMS Physicians
National Fire Protection Association
North American Fire Training Directors
Women in Fire and Emergency Services
National Association of Fire Chaplains

Forward progress by great folks who will certainly share all they come up with, so we can all learn.

Again, The National (US) Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Canadian Suicide Services Are HERE:
HERE is the National Website:

June 24, 1994 Boston Fire Lieutenant Steve Minehan of Ladder 15 died in the line of duty while rescuing 2 Firefighters from a burning warehouse at box 4113. During the rescue, which saved 2 firefighters, Steve was separated from his company and died in the fire.
HERE is more about Steve, his life, and his Line of Duty Death:

The Secret List 6-27-11 / 1315 Hours