Firefighters are more likely to take their own life than to die in the line of duty.
First responder PTSD rates are triple the general population.
Those are just two of the many devastating statistics House Education Committee Chief Counsel Melissa White laid out in a Tuesday interim meeting of the Joint Committee on Volunteer Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services.
“A journal of Emergency Medical Services reported that 37 percent of EMS first responders contemplated suicide and 6.6 percent attempted suicide, making them 10 times more likely than the CDC average,” White said.
White told lawmakers that combining EMS and firefighter duties made the individual six times more likely to report a suicide attempt than just firefighting duties alone.
“Here in West Virginia, in the month of September 2022 alone, four suicidal first responders were referred to inpatient treatment through the assistance of local non-profit organizations,” she said.