Faith and Fire

by Jacquetta Gomes

Faith and Fire is an independent partnership in the United Kingdom between some Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), and faith communities to develop mutual respect. It also increases the awareness of faiths to FRS staff and volunteers.

Faith and Fire has a website which offers a resource for FRSs by offering information on topics including Chaplaincy, faiths, interfaith, death and dying, mindfulness, PTSD and trauma. Faith and Fire welcomes relevant submissions to the website.

Faith Leaders and some UK Fire and Rescue Services are currently represented on the Faith and Fire Steering Group.

The World Congress of Faiths supports Faith and Fire and is represented on the Steering Group. Jacquetta Gomes spoke on “Faith and Fire – Partnership: Fire Officers and Faith Communities” at the Religious Freedom Responsibility for Planet and People conference, 20-23 August 2013 in Horsham, West Sussex, England UK hosted by the International Association for Religious Freedom, the World Congress of Faiths and the Horsham Interfaith Forum. The Conference book, which includes her talk: Religious Freedom and Responsibility For Planet and People, IARF International Association for Religious Freedom, 2013. (ISBN 978-0-9538172-2-1).

Faith and Fire was started in 2013 by Fire Officer Daryl Oprey [the then CFOA Chief Fire Officers Association Lead on Equality and Inclusion] and Jacquetta Gomes [his then Advisor on Interfaith and Multifaith]. Faith and Fire developed from work they undertook in 2012 with BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada), Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Manchester, and the MBC Manchester Buddhist Convention.

In 2012 Fire Officer Daryl Oprey stated “With respect to the Fire Service involvement it is around us being a more inclusive, aware and conspicuous service not just about dealing with tragedy but preventing it. We treat everyone as members of society and appreciate that our service delivery needs to be shown as being adaptable and considerate of all faiths and cultures. It is not enough to believe that ‘one size fits all’.”

Buddhist and Multifaith Fire Chaplaincy
Information on Buddhist and Multifaith Fire Chaplaincy is available on the Faith and Fire website:

Damaged: A First Responder’s Experiences Handling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

by James Meuer, NREMTP

“And if I could tell you one thing it would be, you’re not as broken as you think you are. Sure, you have a couple of scars, and a couple bad memories, but then again all great heroes do.”

People have scars in all sorts of unexpected places. Like secret roadmaps of their personal histories, diagrams of all their old wounds. Most of our wounds heal, leaving nothing behind but a scar. But then again some of them don’t. Some wounds we carry with us everywhere and though the cut’s long gone, the pain still lingers.

“PTSD is a physiological response to noticeably abnormal situations. It involves specific chemical changes in the brain that occur in response to experiencing a traumatic event. Many of the PTSD symptoms appear as a direct result of these brain changes. It is a medical disorder that sometimes causes serious disability.” ~Excerpt from the book, Damaged: A First Responder’s Experiences Handling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Continue reading “Damaged: A First Responder’s Experiences Handling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”

Fire Chaplaincy in the United Kingdom

by Nick Rutter
UK Fire & Rescue Service Chaplains’ Association of the United Kingdom and Islands (FRSCA)

The UK Fire & Rescue Service Chaplains’ Association of the United Kingdom and Islands (FRSCA) has grown dramatically in the last three years; supporting and developing pastoral care for one of the UK’s front-line emergency services. Continue reading “Fire Chaplaincy in the United Kingdom”

Watching Out for Each Other (firefighter ptsd)

by Chris Sterricker, Firefighter/Paramedic
DuPage County, Illinois

Editor’s Note: Although Chris wrote this article in August 2012 about the movie theater bombing in Aurora, Colorado, I thought it was a very timely piece to share following the Boston Marathon tragedy on April 15, 2013. Continue reading “Watching Out for Each Other (firefighter ptsd)”

“Going In”

by Skip Straus Emergency Ministries

GOD gives us the courage and strength to do what we do. And HE gives us a promise – that HE will be with us wherever we go!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Continue reading ““Going In””