The Milwaukee Fire Department is requiring its 800 firefighters go through a domestic abuse training session.
To cover all the first responders, sessions are being offered at the Milwaukee Fire Academy over a three month period.
It’s part of a health and wellness program within the department that’s been around for almost ten years. However, this is the first time an entire session has been dedicated to domestic abuse.
In the class, led by Milwaukee’s Sojourner Family Peace Center, firefighters are learning how to spot warning signs of abuse, and they’re given resources available in Milwaukee if they need help.
“People that come into the fire department come from the general population so we experience the same things the general population deals with,” said Lieutenant Moses Butler with the Milwaukee Fire Department.
“We are gone at least one out of three days completely, so we have to rely on our family members to support the house when we’re not there, so we have to work extra hard to communicate with our family members and our children. It’s just a different situation,” Butler continued.
Butler said out of the 800 firefighters on the department, each year, it sees a handful of domestic abuse cases. The firefighters are either victims or being accused of abuse.
“Anytime you are a public servant, you always have in the back of your head wanting to protect your privacy, so even if you make a mistake or if your family members make a mistake, you are more likely to hide that,” said Butler.
“Sometimes with a class like this, people can find out whether it affects them personally or their families,” he continued.