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Resilient Responder Program Update
by
Dr. Jim Guy
on
March 19, 2015
| Resilience | First Responders |

Recently, we completed "Phase One" in developing our new Emergency Responder support program, after a busy year of collaboration with various Los Angeles response agencies.  It’s been rewarding work involving 17 half-day training workshops and more than 175 hours of management consultations on ways to promote personal resilience and trauma recovery.  During this time, we met with more than 700 responders from the LA Police Department, LA Fire Department, LA County Mental Health, FBI, LA Port Police, LAX Police, Emergency Management Department, Mayor’s Office, and the Red Cross.  Working together, we provided the tools and information responders need to be at their best during critical emergencies.  The Ahmanson Foundation and Capital Group Charitable Foundation generously supported this program over the past twelve months.  By every measure, we’re off to a strong start. 

This engaging undertaking has led us to the following conclusions:

  • Our emergency responders do heroic work on a daily basis
  • Future mass-fatality disasters will tax them to the very limit
  • Training responders now to build personal resilience will help them be better prepared
  • We will continue this important work

We will now begin “Phase Two” of our program, during which we will offer the following to local responder organizations:

  • Resilient Responder” workshops to promote the personal resilience of the thousands of emergency workers based in Los Angeles
  • Building Resilient Teams” workshops and management consultations to strengthen local response organizations
  • Building Resilient Families” workshops and management consultations to strengthen the families of responders and prepare them for the impact of future disasters
  • Online resources and tools to provide the latest information on ways to promote resilience and trauma recovery

Inquiries from emergency response organizations outside of Los Angeles are prompting us to participate in a growing movement to build the emergency response capacity of our cities nationwide.  As our local support program matures, “Phase Three” will involve providing similar services across the country.  At that point, our domestic responder and international humanitarian work will merge into a worldwide network of support and assistance for all involved in rescue and recovery. 

This is an exciting but daunting prospect.  To prepare for this, we are actively seeking additional staff and partners of all kinds.  If you’d like to become involved, please let me know.  We’d welcome your help.

Before closing, I want to share that I’ve been deeply moved and humbled by the courage, sacrifice, and dedication of the local emergency responders I’ve met.  They were truly outstanding individuals who are doing all they can to help people when they need it most.  We are fortunate to have them among us – I can’t imagine the world without them.  It has renewed my efforts to do all we can to promote their wellbeing by providing the very best training and consulting services.  If my dad were still alive (he passed more than a year ago), he would agree.  After many years as a volunteer fireman in Milwaukee, he saw the emotional impact of emergency responder work on himself and his colleagues.  We have the tools to help, so we must.  They deserve it, and we will also need them to be strong for future emergencies.  Who knows what’s ahead. 

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