Intuition vs. Communication: Why Your Job Skills May Not Transfer to Home Life

Firefighters from Carol Stream, Wheaton, Winfield, West Chicago, Bloomingdale, and Roselle gather regularly for trainings and simulations, as a part of the West Suburban Fire/Rescue Alliance. Since its inception in 2012, the Alliance has remained committed to the idea of partnering neighboring fire departments for faster, safer emergency responses.

How to Listen so Your Spouse Feels Heard

Have you experienced conflict with your spouse recently? What if you had the power to diffuse the situation immediately by how you responded? Your body language and word choice can either build tension or diffuse drama. Try these simple listening skills to improve communication and stop conflict:

Do You Have His Back?

On Sunday, October 23rd, the Arizona Cardinals played the Seattle Seahawks in a riveting game that ended in a disappointing 6-6 tie. As I read a recap article about this game, the author sparked the idea for this article. This game was officially the lowest-scoring NFL game that ever went into overtime, and during all this playtime both teams missed what would have been game-winning field goals.

The 5 C’s of Successful Aging

According to author Mitch Anthony, author of The New Retirementality, successful aging means living with vitality, continuing to challenge oneself mentally and physically, continuing to move forward, keep going, and try new things, and treating oneself as if he has many more years to live.

How to Stay on Top of Your Thoughts

During CHP Academy’s Resiliency Training, seasoned officers teach cadets keys to survive the Academy. Since emotional wellness is crucial at every stage in law enforcement, here are a few of their emotional wellness secrets, that you can apply in your job today.

How to Study and Memorize Important Information

Got an upcoming test? Here are some tactics to help you remember what you need to remember. The California Highway Patrol Academy teaches cadets to use these key study skills, but they are helpful at any point in your career!

You Can’t Make it Alone in Law Enforcement

So, you joined law enforcement to help people. You wanted to make a difference in your community, in your world. But, the longer you work in law enforcement, the more you realize the world is a messed up place. You get knocked down. You see things you wish you had never seen. You get cynical. You may even feel depressed or tempted to turn to alcohol or other substances or behaviors to numb the pain or wake you up from the numbness you constantly feel.

Making Breakthroughs – In Fighting Fires and In Your Personal Life

I recently had the opportunity to shadow Aurora Fire Department’s Extrication Training, in which Private Stawikowski, Captain Garner, Private Koerbrel, and Lieutenant Glen Hasenheyer prepared and observed recruits as they tackled three staged obstacles with three specific tools. At the first station, recruits used an ax to cut through a roof. At the second station, recruits used a 26-pound saw with various blades to cut through rebar.

Providing Opportunities out of Tears: Ryan Elwood’s Story

In the fall of 2015, firefighter Lieutenant Ryan Elwood, took his life. But, out of his passing, seeds have been planted to provide hope, opportunity, and futures for young firefighters. I had the opportunity to meet Ryan’s parents and aunts and hearing their experience with losing their son and nephew.

Firefighters and Stress: Just Breathe

More than anyone, firefighters know that in an emergency situation, their natural reaction is “fight or flight”. If the danger is surmountable, we may choose to stand our ground and fight. If we can outrun or avoid the danger, we will flee. However, there is another response that can occur when a danger seems so overwhelmingly hopeless that there is no chance of survival. We may freeze, like the deer in the headlights.

Writing Your Way to Healing

You experienced a trauma. It was horrible. What now? How do you even begin to think about it? Where do you go first? You can’t get it out of your head, and you don’t want people to think you’re weak. Should you talk to someone, or should you try to sort it out on your own? Should you take your time, or do you need to come forward right away?

All Together Better: A Look at Fire/Rescue Alliances

Fighting a fire, going out on an EMS call, or extricating someone from a traffic accident, all demand that you go into battle mode. You have a task ahead of you and someone who needs you. Nothing should slow you down. But…

What if another department arrived before you? Who, then, calls the shots? Did they do a 360° size-up to your standards? What if they missed something? It can get clunky when multiple cities work together, and one slip up could cost someone his life.

Fighting: Fires, Cancer, & Your Family

Cancer. For some it’s just others’ distant tragedy, but for some it’s the enemy that ruined the family. For many firefighters, cancer is a reality that they may have to face because, in the fire service, cancer rates are higher than in other occupations. According to a study produced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), those in the fire service are two times more likely than non-firefighters to be diagnosed with brain cancer …

Envisioning a Happy, Hopeful Retirement for Firefighters

As a part of the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support team, I am excited and hopeful about the launch of our new Retiree Peer Support program. My name is Jada Hudson, and I will be serving as the Clinical Consultant for Retiree Peer Support. I look forward to working with Retiree Coordinator Chuck Wehrli as we develop the Retiree Peer Support program into all that I know it can be.

A Firefighter’s MAYDAY: Before, During, & After

The word “MAYDAY” is one of the scariest words a firefighter can hear and the hardest for a firefighter to transmit. It typically means one or more firefighters are down and in need of a rescue. How do you deal with a MAYDAY? Knowing how to cope before, during and after the call is important for all firefighters.

The Importance of RIT Training

Recently, I was invited by Matt Acuff and Jason Demas to participate in RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) training with the Aurora Fire Department. I attended alongside fire academy students who were to be on shift in three weeks.

Is It Addiction?

Every individual is unique. Like a fingerprint, everyone has their own set of interests, desires, relationships, and experiences. However, within our society’s beautiful tapestry of uniqueness lies many individuals, whose interests and desires have been driven to extremes, compelling them to mask their underlying feelings.

Ready, Set, Wait: When to Redshirt Your Kindergartner

Every parent of a preschooler knows the significance of the date, September 1st . If a preschooler turns five-years-old on or before that date, they can start kindergarten that year.

However, a trend of delaying kindergarten entry, or “redshirting”, is beginning to emerge. “Redshirting” is a term commonly applied in the sports world to rookie players who are temporarily benched so they can emerge later in the season better prepared to perform. For the incoming kindergartner, it means waiting an extra year to start school, at their parent’s discretion.

Firefighters and Eagles: A Shared Heart

Strong, brave, and fierce are adjectives you may use to describe a firefighter. They are also appropriate adjectives to describe an eagle.

For most of us, eagles are a sign of dignity, inspiration, and strength. The bird makes a fitting national symbol of our country. In fact, eagles are so important, when they began facing extinction because of their precarious environment, the country launched a campaign to remedy the situation with a change in attitude towards the environment.


From celebrities to people in our own family, suicide strikes at our heart and brings shock and emotional pain to everyone left behind. Suicide in the firefighting world, unfortunately, is not only evident. It is prevalent.

Lessons From A Firefighter Therapist Training Day

When Sarah Gura asked me to join her and Cody for a special firefighter training day at the Aurora Fire Department for just us FPS therapists, I was expecting more of a demonstration and lecture about smoke and fire. Or, at least, that’s what I thought was going to happen. I never realized what an emotionally and physically exhausting, yet rewarding experience I was about to have.

What To Do With Worry

Few of us welcome worry into our life, yet nearly all of us experience it.

Alcohol Abuse: Is Cold Turkey the Only Way?

Alcohol abuse is a common problem among people with high stress jobs, and firefighters are no exception. The really hard part for all involved is determining the severity of the alcohol abuse and how to manage it.

Quiet Desperation: The Male Manifestation of Depression

“There is a blackness that has lain inside the center of my being…this jagged, empty, frightened feeling has been a part of my internal atmosphere for as long as I can remember. It has been my baseline, my steady state—the me that I have been running from…”

This is a description of feelings from a man with depression, taken from a very profound book I recently finished entitled “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” by Terrence Real. Within the book, Real takes a long, hard look at male depression and sheds light on how depression manifests itself differently in males than females. He calls it a “terrible collusion in our society, a cultural cover-up about depression in men”.