A Message From FGFD Chaplain
Fairfield Glade Fire Department
DECEMBER 14, 2020
The primary role as the fire chaplain is to support the membership of the department. When members are exposed to an extraordinary tragedy, there is the possibility of lasting emotional stress. These can cause problems with sleep, coping, relationships, mental health, among others. I am a certified Fire Chaplain and a member of the Tennessee Federation of Fire Chaplains (TFFC). The TFFC is nationally recognized and approved by FEMA for national deployments. https://www.tffc.org/ They work alongside the Tennessee Department of Health to assist in stress management during and after a critical incident. I am one of more than 100 in the state of Tennessee trained and certified to assist in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).
My second role would be to assist at an exceptional emergency, which could be a residential fire, a fatality, serious injury of a member, large-scale evacuation, or a disaster. I would likely be a liaison to the Fire Chief or Incident Commander to assist impacted individuals. The goal would be to determine if the individuals impacted need personal assistance, housing, transportation, or reassurance and also to explain what the department is doing and their end-goals. This will also allow for information gathering from the individual which might be valuable to the Incident Commander.
My third role would be to observe the Fairfield Glade Firefighters at an exceptional emergency to determine possible emotional stress on them based on the situation. This would be both during the emergency as well as talking with them after the emergency is over. Which, of course, leads me back to my primary role.
I believe my most important role as the fire chaplain, is to represent God. To “love your neighbor as yourself” is WHAT the members of the FGFD do—it is why I am blessed to be here. I am honored to lead the members in a prayer at the beginning of department meetings, which also puts me in a position where members frequently ask for prayers for themselves, friends or family members. I have several members of the local clergy who support us and have graciously volunteered to be resources for situations beyond my training. Sometimes I represent the department at meetings, gatherings and even funerals. There is a group of strong believers in the department who meet periodically to encourage and be encouraged and share a meal. I have been a firefighter, both career and volunteer, for more than 40 years and this is the most important duty I have accepted.
MAY 23, 2020
Living in a time of a Pandemic is surreal. It seems everything is upset. It seems we have too much news. The daily updates with Coronavirus infections and deaths with too many advisories about washing your hands and social distancing. But there’s not enough, also. Not enough groceries, not enough interactions with friends, not enough fellowship with other believers, not enough toilet paper.
On one hand, it is good to be a Christian in times like these. We have a personal relationship with God—our Heavenly Father—who is certainly watching over us. We are reassured that He was at the beginning and He has written the last chapter. We are on the winning side—He is and will be victorious.
However, in one of the Fire Chaplain training sessions I attended, it was pointed out that even Christians can struggle with stress and depression. Even though we absolutely believe with all of our hearts that God is in control and is all powerful—some days can be tough.
Romans 15:13 seems like a great place to start: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in HIM, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the gift? To be filled with all joy and peace—so that you may overflow with hope
What is the source of the gift? God of hope and the power of the Holy Spirit
What is your part? As you trust in Him
What do you think? This is a great time to be filled with all joy and peace and to overflow with hope! You know what overflow means, don’t you? The hope will fill us up so much that it will spill out of you and me and splash all over those who are around us—it’s more that we can hold—it’s to be shared.