News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 14, 2019

PROVINCE OFFERS TRAINING PROGRAM TO MANITOBA FIRE SERVICE TO SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS AND RESILIENCE



The Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) will soon be offering a program called ‘The Working Mind First Responders (TWMFR)’ in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) and the Manitoba Association of Fire Chiefs (MAFC), to help members of the Manitoba Fire Service cope with the realities of work-related stress, Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen, minister responsible for the Office of the Fire Commissioner, announced today.

“Helping our first responders identify the stressors they may face, and making sure they have the coping mechanisms to deal with that stress, is critical,” Pedersen said.  “Emergency service personnel face trauma on a daily basis, and we want to ensure they have the skills to maintain resilience and keep coming back to do the important life-saving work they do.”

Under an agreement with the MHCC to deliver the Train the Trainer program, a specialty instructor network will be developed to deliver the half-day training sessions to members of the Manitoba Fire Service.  The specialty instructor network will work under the guidance and direction of the Manitoba Emergency Services College (MESC) as the training and education provider on behalf of the OFC.

This model has been highly successful in delivering other important fire, rescue and emergency medical training in Manitoba, and will ensure the TWMFR program is available to all departments across the province.  The TWMFR course is designed to:
•    improve short-term performance and long-term mental health outcomes,   
•    reduce barriers and encourage access to care,
•    provide tools to manage and support employees experiencing a mental illness, and
•    support supervisors in maintaining their own mental health.

“The mental well-being and resilience of our members has been identified as a priority by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs,” said Brad Yochim, fire chief, Wallace and District Fire Department, and president, MAFC.  “By making the TWMFR program available to all members of the Manitoba Fire Service, we will build on the strength of the existing Critical Incident Stress Management Network already in place to support our members.  We look forward to working with the MESC on the development of this instructor network and the delivery of this training to our members.”  

For more information on the Working Mind First Responders Program, visit the Office of the Fire Commissioners website at www.firecomm.gov.mb.ca.

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