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Milwaukee firefighters receive psychological response training

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 19:35:11-05

First responders already treat physical injuries, but a new effort will train Milwaukee firefighters to treat psychological injuries too, especially with children. 

The city's Trauma Response Initiative started in 2015 as a pilot program with Milwaukee Police. On Thursday, the program expanded to include all first responders. 

About 20 fire department leaders received the training and the goal is to eventually train all 600 members of the department. 

"There are very few cities who are doing what we're doing right now," said Mayor Tom Barrett. 

He says Milwaukee is leading the way when it comes to this type of training. The training was done Thursday by the director of the Children's Mobile Crisis Team, Dr. Steven Dykstra.  

"We're very familiar with the notion of first aid following injury, the kind of thing that firefighters, police officers might provide if you sustained a physical injury," said Dykstra. "This is the psychological equivalent of this first aid."

Once all members are trained, Milwaukee Fire will become the first department in the country to use this strategy system-wide. 

"Today is a powerful day and a timely day given what's happening in the country," said Reggie Moore, the director of the city's office of violence prevention. "To ensure that children have access to immediate counseling and support after a traumatic incident."

"Being kind, compassionate, understanding, supportive is the heart and soul of all of this," said Dykstra. "Nobody should ever hesitate to do that for another human being."