This article is provided by Lexipol
By Sean W. Stumbaugh, Battalion Chief (Retired)
When I was a supervisor in the fire department, my crews had a nickname for me: The Red Man. I embraced the moniker to some degree and I would joke with them, “Don’t make me take out the Red Man.” This was a term of endearment (at least that’s what I liked to believe) in many cases, but I knew it was born from numerous times that I led with anger. In hindsight this is not a great way to lead.
So, what was really going on here? I hadn’t been brought up in some military academy where I learned to be a drill sergeant when things didn’t go my way. Was there something else at work? Something I couldn’t really put my finger on? After retirement, I realized some of this behavior was born out of stress I was feeling, at work and at home.
I was confident retirement would fix this issue and my life would be a breeze. I soon found out that retirement was something I wasn’t fully prepared for. I went through a two-year transition that was more difficult than being at work. Fortunately, I had some support mechanisms that helped see me through
This experience made me want to know more about the stress we face as firefighters. So I reached out to an expert in the field, Jeff Dill, founder and CEO of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance (FBHA). In this article, I’ll share some insights Jeff opened my eyes to, with the hopes that they might be eyeopening for you, too. And in my next article, I’ll share three steps all fire service professionals can take to combat the negative effects of work-related stress.
1,100 and Counting One of my goals when I was a training chief was to design training programs that reduced the risk of line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) by targeting the root causes of LODDs. We commonly use the number 100 to explain how many of us die on the job each year. This number is an average, and the actual figure fluctuates, but unfortunately the deviation is small.
Jeff Dill stresses an entirely different number: 1,102—the number of confirmed firefighter and EMS suicides he has validated since he began studying the issue. “These are not merely numbers, they are the names and faces of brothers and sisters who have left us behind,” Jeff says. “That’s always been our message at the FBHA. We never want to forget them.” Jeff now dedicates his professional life to helping reduce this growing number.
Call It By Name So, what is it we are struggling with? We can—and should—call it Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) or PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We’re hardly alone in being at risk for PTS; military personnel, police officers and other first responders face it too—not to mention anyone who experiences a traumatic experience, such as being assaulted or witnessing death or abuse.
Chief Roy Robichaux has been involved with the IAFC for nearly 40 years. His contribution to the fire service and the IAFC has been a vital part of the growth of the organization as well as his knowledge and experience has been to expertise of the Louisiana fire service.
Chief Roy Robichaux has been with the Belle Chasse Volunteer Fire Department since he began as a volunteer in 1972. He worked his way up through the ranks within the department, becoming the fire chief in 1978. The Belle Chasse Volunteer Fire Department covers approximately 27 square miles of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana and is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans. Since 1978, the department has grown from a one-station, total volunteer department to a combination department with five stations.
Chief Robichaux earned a bachelor of science degree in Engineering Technology from Nicholls State University, Thibodaux, LA. He has completed several classes offered by the National Fire Academy including Community Fire Protection Planning, Commanding the Initial Response, and Fire Fighter Safety and Survival. In 2010, Chief Robichaux retired from ConocoPhillips where he was the fire chief and emergency response superintendent at the Alliance Refinery for 23 years. He currently serves as Superintendent of Fire Departments for Plaquemines Parish Government. As superintendent, he oversees the parish’s seven fire departments. One of his many accomplishments during his tenure is having assisted each department in transitioning from total volunteer to combination departments.
Chief Robichaux joined the IAFC in 1978 and currently serves as Southwestern Division International Director on the IAFC Board of Directors after serving as division president, division secretary-treasurer and division state (LA) vice-president. He has belonged to several IAFC sections and has agreed to serve as a board advocate to the Industrial and Fire Safety Section.
Chief Robichaux is active in many fire service organizations, including the Louisiana Fire Chiefs’ Association, the Louisiana State Firemen’s Association, the Louisiana Fireman’s Supplemental Pay Board, and the Plaquemines Parish Emergency Planning Committee.
Additionally, Chief Robichaux served as an adjunct instructor at LSU Industrial Fire Chief’s School, University of Nevada Fire Protection Training Academy, and at Williams Foam School.
Chief Dayringer joined the IAFC Southwestern Board of Director’s in 2015 to replace 1st Vice President Shauwn Howell. He is currently residing in Fayetteville, AR and an Oklahoma native. Chief Dayringer is an intregal part of the SW community.
David Dayringer has served as Fayetteville Fire Chief since January 2010. He previously served as Deputy Chief for the Tulsa Fire Department, where he worked for 28 years.
Dayringer received an Associate of Science degree from Tulsa Community College in Fire Protection Technology and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Operations Management from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and a Chief Fire Officer Designate from the Commission on Professional Credentialing. He is a Member in the Institution of Fire Engineers and is a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician.
Visit the Fayetteville Fire Department on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FYVFIRE/
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your president during 2018. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress and momentum of the previous presidents and leadership of the division.
As we move into 2018, the fire service continues to be challenged to be more efficient and effective in the use of our customers’ (taxpayers’) funds. This is not a localized issue but one that is evident across the country, including the five states that comprise the Southwest Division. This is occurring at the same time that our country and our region is experiencing the most costly series of wide spread disaster level incidents in the country’s history. The numerous hurricanes and flooding experienced along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts and Puerto Rico and the wildfires in the western states have resulted in devastation of homes, commercial properties and public safety assets. This will compound the physical effects of these incidents by lowering the values of or removing properties from the tax rolls putting further pressure on local government funding streams.
These storms have brought out what is good and honorable in our profession as departments from across the country have donated significant resources into the affected areas. A significant number of good, serviceable apparatus have been donated into the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast region from several departments across the country, allowing for smaller cities such as Rockport, Texas to return to providing service to their communities.
The focus of the Southwest Division during the next year is to expand its leadership course offerings throughout the division’s five-state area. In doing so, the goal is to bring relevant and timely discussion topics to the attendees at each venue and do so at an affordable price point to encourage attendance.
I look forward to this year and hope to see you at one of the conferences or meetings being scheduled.
Chief Randall Parr, Fire Chief
Tomball Fire Department
President- IAFC- SW Division 2017-2018
Assistant Chief Chad Roberson took the oath of office on October 7, 2017 to represent the state of Louisiana on the IAFC-Southwestern Division. Before joining our board, he has been heavily involved with the IAFC by volunteering his time on various committees within the organization.
Chief Chad Roberson is a 29-year veteran and assistant fire chief for the St. George Fire Protection District in East Baton Rouge Parish. Roberson has a master’s degree in Executive Fire Service Leadership from Grand Canyon University as well as a bachelor’s degree in history from Louisiana State University (LSU) and an associate degree in fire science from Louisiana State University Eunice (LSUE). Roberson graduated from the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program, the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire Service Executive Development Institute (FSEDI) program and has been awarded the Certified Fire Officer (CFO) designation from the Commission on Professional Credentialing. Roberson currently serves on the Emergency Management Committee for the International Association of Fire Chiefs and is a current executive board member of the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Foundation and the Louisiana Municipal Association. He is also currently serving as President of the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association
The 2017-2018 Board of Directors didn’t waste any time in continueing the work by the previous board of directors. Led by President Randy Parr, he is being assisted by the 1st Vice President Shauwn D. Howell.
Fire Chief Howell is currently the Fire Chief of Pine Bluff Fire Department in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Chief Howell was promoted to Fire Chief on December 30, 2011. Before the appointment he served as the interim chief for 7 months.
Howell is a graduate of Dollarway High School, has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Central Arkansas and an associate’s degree in fire science from Southeast Arkansas College. Howell has worked for the department for 12 years, serving as a firefighter, engineer, lieutenant, training director, public information officer, deputy fire chief and interim fire chief. Howell has been deputy fire chief since 2010. Howell has served in a supervision position with the department for six years. He worked part-time as an adjunct instructor for the Arkansas Fire Academy in Camden from 2007 to 2009.
His training credentials are as follows:
AAS Fire Science
Firefighter 1 – 2 – IFSAC
Company Officer 1 – 2 – IFSAC
Instructor 1 – IFSAC
Arkansas Fire Academy Instructor
To learn more about Chief Howell please visit his page with Pine Bluff Fire Department
Chief Robert Benoit of Lafayette, LA was elected as the 2nd Vice President by the members at the annual business meeting which took place on October 7 in Houston, TX.
The role of the 2nd Vice President is to assist the President and First Vice President of the Division. In the absence or inability of the President and First Vice President shall assume all duties of the President. He shall also be the Chairman of the Membership Activities of the Association.
Chief Benoit began his career in 1979 when he entered rookie class for the Lafayette Fire Department. He rose up the ranks in Lafayette with numerous positions. He was appointed the Fire Chief in 1993 and remains in that position today. During his tenure with LFD he served as an adjunct instructor for LSU-Eunice from 1992-2000.
Chief Benoit has been a member of the IAFC since many years. He has also served many positions on various committees representing the Southwestern the IAFC Constitution and By-Laws Committee.
We welcome Chief Benoit to the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Division. He brings with him many years in education and training and will be beneficial to the mission of the Southwestern Division of the IAFC.
Chief Benoit will host the 2019 Executive Leadership Conference in his home town of Lafayette, LA. He currently is also on the Education/ Conference Planning Committee.
|Meeting Type:||Board of Directors Monthly Meeting|
|February 15, 2017||Start Time:||2:00pm|
|Phone Number:||641-715-3580 ACCESS||Access Code:||549868|
|President Bradley call to order 2:04 pm|
|Director Moatts called roll. Quorum present
1 absent as marked above
Fullingim verbally reported financials
|State vice presidents verbally reported monthly activity.
Moatts verbally reported activity for the month
Robichaux verbally reported IAFC activity
Louthan reported on the Leadership Academy held in Oklahoma City as successful; Moatts reported the interest from other areas of the country and recommended that the SWD look at hosting another Academy for next February as well as similar classes out of other divisions.
President Bradley posed the question to the board giving Moatts authority to move forward with sponsoring another Leadership Academy for February 2018 and also partnering with other divisions that would like to host the academy. Motion by Randy Parr, 2nd by Roy Robichaux, motion carried.
|Moatts reported on the Command Symposium held in Pflugerville. Total attendance 112. Overall there was a profit made for the Association. Complete report was read and distributed to the board.
Moatts recommended that the board support continue supporting this class for next year as per special request from Pflugerville Fire and Hutto Fire Chief Scott Kerwood.
President Bradley posed the question to the board giving Moatts the authority to move forward with sponsoring another class in 2018. Motion by Randy Parr, 2nd by Roy Robichaux, motion carried.
Dennis Pacheco presented the request from Mike Jaffa for the SW Board endorsement. After discussion it was decided that no endorsement from the board would be allowed without bringing the membership for a vote.
Dan Eggleston also requested to have the SW Board endorse his candidacy for 2nd VP, but due to policy, the Board is not allowed to endorse a candidate that is not from the Division.
Lexipol Cooperative Partnership- Moatts provided the board with a benefits flyer from Lexipol. After some discussion President Bradley recommended that Moatts gather more facts and testimony to the feasibility of a Lexipol partnership. However, Lexipol will be a sponsor/partner for the Conference in October. Potentially discuss the partnership in person in October, or sooner.
|Nothing for the good of the association, motion to adjourn at 4:01 pm|
Dear attendees, sponsors, exhbitors and guests,
We are pleased to bring you the 2017 Executive Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas. We have finalized the schedule of events and are ready for our attendees.
There are still a few seats available for the break-out sessions and general sessions. Please consider registering for this important conference designed for the exclusive
needs of our Chiefs, Chief Officers, Leaders and Training Officers. We are here to offer our division members education and resources they will need to lead the next generation of fire service
leaders. Things change so quickly and without proper training and continuing education our leaders won’t be prepared for tomorrow.
Please view the schedule of events beginning October 5.
Our general sessions and break-outs are designed for our chiefs and chief officers.
Special thanks to our sponsors and exhibitors who made this conference possible.
We also have a special treat for the registered attendees on Friday, October 6th. This is the “Rocket-City” and we couldn’t allow a visit to Houston without a special after-hours tour at Johnson Space Center! Thanks to for sponsoring this fun-event! You must be registered for the conference before October 1 to take advantage of this tour
We are providing breakfast, lunch and breaks for October 5 & 6 sponsored by Joiner Architects and Gamma Construction
The Vendor Welcome Reception/Social Event Otober 5th begining at 6:00 pm is sponsored by Siddons-Martin Emergency Group
The conclusion of the conference is noon on October 7th. This allows time to visit all of the other attractions in the area. Take advantage of what Houston/Clear Lake has to offer!
SW Division President Tom Bradley along with members of the executive committee have met to discuss the current needs in Texas and Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Harvey. President Bradley commented with Texas and Louisiana located in the heart of our division, we feel it’s critical that we offer this local assistance. Executive Director Moatts has been in touch with vendors and suppliers who are also willing to help the division and leaders of the area as soon as more information is gathered. “We don’t want to be a nuisance, we just want them to know we are here if and when needed” – Chief Tom Bradley.
Moatts has been in touch with division president-elect Randy Parr, fire chief of Tomball Texas. Chief Parr is dealing with flooding in his town. Tomball is located just 30 miles north of downtown Houston. Chief Parr stated that his unmet needs are “help with evacuation and care of the people.”
The leadership of the Division is conducting a needs assessment with area leaders. Currently operations are still in rescue phase however, the recovery phase will bring additional challenges and needs at that time as well.
Moatts also reached out to Louisiana vice president Robert Benoit, fire chief of Lafayette Fire Department to offer assistance as they prepare for the potential of flooding from tropical storm Harvey.
Fire Chief James LeBlanc of St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department in Ascension Parish announced that Lamar-Dixon Conference Center is being used as a donation collection site for the Harvey relief effort. Chief LeBlanc reflected on the tragedy that struck his community last year. “A year ago this week the Texas people showed up in Louisiana with supplies that we needed, so we want to return the favor to them, ” as quoted to WAFB9.
More information of the relief efforts will be available in our electronic newsletter or visit http://swdnewsletter.wordpress.com