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Journal Article


Barry B, Ricciardelli R, Cramm H. Health Promot. Chronic Dis. Prev. Can. 2023; 43(10-11): 450-459.


(Copyright © 2023, Public Health Agency of Canada)






INTRODUCTION: Airport firefighters are responsible for providing emergency responses to aviation incidents on a runway or in the vicinity of an airport, including airplane crashes, mass casualty events, emergency landings and many other concerns on airport grounds. While data exist on the occupational stressors of firefighters and public safety personnel in general, there is a gap in knowledge regarding the experiences of airport firefighters, particularly in relation to their organizational stressors, peer supports and attitudes toward mental health treatment.

METHODS: We conducted two focus groups with 10 career firefighters working at an airport in Atlantic Canada in 2019. Focus groups were recorded; the recordings were transcribed and later coded using thematic analysis, which took an inductive, iterative, narrative approach.

RESULTS: Airport firefighters face unique challenges, and operational stressors are overshadowed by organizational stressors. Additionally, peer support is an integral aspect of coping with both organizational stressors and critical incidents. Firefighters were found to have positive attitudes toward mental health treatment in general, but several barriers still remain, such as stigma, fear of being placed on leave and fear of confidentiality breach.

CONCLUSIONS: Specialized treatment options for public safety personnel and airport firefighters who engage in serious incidents outside of their regular duties are needed.

Language: fr


stigma; public safety personnel; firefighters; mental health treatment; occupational stress; organizational stress; peer support


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