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Texas Firefighters Highlight Increasing PTSD Rates At A Houston Conference

Houston fire officials say more and more firefighters are experiencing PTSD rates similar to that of military veterans.

Fire department vehicles parked in front of a home in Conroe that collapsed during a fire, killing three children and critically injuring three others.

Firefighters in Houston and across the state are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other health issues similar to that of military veterans.

That’s according to Marty Lancton of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. Lancton says with the sheer volumes of calls area departments receive, a firefighter’s daily job can be just as traumatic as a soldier in the line of duty.

He says firefighters are expected to respond immediately to a call at a moment’s notice – and be 100% right, 100% of the time.

“We have a large majority of our firefighters that are ex-military,” says Lancton. “So when they’ve gotten out of the military, they’re now coming in and — they serve their country and they’re serving the citizens of Houston. And that’s admirable. And what we’ve said is we cannot leave firefighters behind and we cannot not address these issues.”

Members from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association along with national experts and more than 30 firefighters from across the state held a ‘peer-support’ training conference in Houston last week designed to help add resources for firefighters in need.

The conference covered topics like job-related post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, family problems, treatment options as well as establishing measures of trust and confidentiality.

According to the latest report by the International Association of Fire Fighters, almost 20 percent of firefighters and paramedics had PTSD, compared with the general population’s rate of 3.5 percent.

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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