For Firefighters, Emotional Stress Often the Deadliest Enemy

Posted at 10:00 AM, Nov 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-25 10:00:00-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The suicide of a firefighter who had a reputation for being a brave and positive force in his Florida community has shined a light on post-traumatic stress disorder in his profession.

One Saturday last month, Vero Beach Battalion Chief David Dangerfield posted a message about PTSD on Facebook before going out into the woods and fatally shooting himself.

The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance estimates about 30 percent of the nation's 1.3 million career and volunteer firefighters suffer from PTSD, with 132 suicides by active and former U.S. firefighters and paramedics reported last year.

There have been recent national efforts to train firefighters to recognize PTSD and to remove the stigma of seeking help.

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