UA project aims to help firefighters cope with loss - Tucson News Now

UA project aims to help firefighters cope with loss

Memorial mural plaque (Source: Wiki Commons) Memorial mural plaque (Source: Wiki Commons)
Granite Mountain Hotshots (Source: Facebook) Granite Mountain Hotshots (Source: Facebook)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Yarnell Hill Fire tragedy is taking a toll on those who are on the front lines of emergencies every day.

Nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots died Sunday while battling the blaze near Prescott.

In the wake of what happened, a mental health researcher at the University of Arizona is working with the Tucson Fire Department to help develop program to help firefighters cope with the injury or death of their colleagues and deal with everyday emotional and psychological stress.

Patricia Haynes, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the U of A and director of the UA Stress and Trauma Recover Center is leading the project. She and John Gulotta, a safety captain with the TFD will train a team of Tucson firefighters to help their colleagues handle tragic situations.

"The goal of the program is to make sure that our firefighters are not only healthy and safe, but also mentally prepared for the situations they may face, to help the community," Gulotta said. He added that their mental health is important so they can be mentally and physically prepared for the job and the next call.

A system was in place to help firefighters cope with stressful situations, but it's no longer recommended based on reports issued by the National Institutes for Mental Health and the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

Tucson News Now's Maria Hechanova will have a full report on the program on KOLD News 13 today at 5 p.m. She can be followed on Twitter at @MariaHechanova.

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