Understanding the Fire Service Culture

Price: $200.00

Friday, June 22, 2018
8:00am – 5:00pm ~ 8 CE Hrs
Instructor: Dr. Kristen Wheldon, President, Fire Service Psychology Association

Alliant International University, Los Angeles
1000 Fremont Ave #5
Alhambra, CA 91803

This course is offered to doctoral level psychologists who are interested in becoming culturally competent to the needs of firefighters and their families.

The fire service is a unique culture based on paramilitary organization. The nature of the firefighter shiftwork requires that they live in close quarters to each other for much of their career. Firefighters are exposed to more trauma, often in one work segment, than the average adult in their entire lives. Furthermore, research suggests these individuals are more likely to consider suicide and face more difficulty in intimate partner relationships. Therefore, it is imperative that psychologists working with this population understand the unique needs of the firefighter and his or her family.

Course Goals and Objectives

  • Identify cultural components specific to the fire service including performance standards, jargon, shift work, and barriers to treatment.
  • Describe the complexities of firefighting including trauma exposure, challenges to interpersonal relationships, and organizational demands. 
  • Explain current trends in peer support and psychological services offered to fire departments and barriers to treatment.

Syllabus/ Time Outline


History and Tradition of the Fire Service


Hiring Processes/ Performance Standards


Break (15min)


Diversity Issues


Changes of Duties: Role Fire Prevention/ EMS/ Psychiatric Emergencies


Lunch (1Hour)


Family Considerations


Break (15min)


Organizational Demands: Promotional Processes


Barriers to Treatment and Post Traumatic Stress Outcomes including Suicide


Transitional Considerations: Retirement/ Medical Discharge