EMTs, firefighters, cops. They run towards car crashes, fight the largest of flames and respond to mass shootings. What happens when they can’t get the things they see and hear over and over again out of their minds? What’s going through their minds when they think about the lives they weren’t able to save?

As a first responder, we have hundreds of lessons on how to save lives, but no lessons on how to go on living.” – Robert Seeburger, Battalion Fire Chief, City of Bayonne Fire Department

NATAL has been handpicked to lend its expertise in providing resiliency training to New Jersey’s first responders.

Trainings are part of a three-year project with the New Jersey City/Newark Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), a grant program of the Department of Homeland Security, and aim to prevent personal and professional burnout, while providing coping and decision making tools to use in stressful situations. The course is tailored to meet the needs of New Jersey’s first responder community, and draws from NATAL’s 20 year of experience and training of over 20,000 responders in Israel.

The first training took place in 2018, designed for ER physicians, nurses, paramedics, and social workers. The most recent training took place over nine days this spring at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Morristown. Eleven firefighters took part, coming from Bayonne, Clifton, Cranford, Jersey City, Linden, Morristown, and Paterson.

NATAL’s trainers help firefighters learn how to deal with stress, trauma, and the aftermath, PTSD, learning tools to develop self-resiliency in both routine and acute situations. They learn specialized coping techniques for working with and even recognizing stress in colleagues.

NATAL “Trains the Trainers”, ensuring the roll-out of the training to the firehouses and hospitals by people who work with and in them.

What sets this program apart is that it is a proactive approach to dealing with the emotional stresses… Stress not only comes from our acute exposure to a major incident, but also our chronic exposure to many smaller incidents over time. This fully encompassing method helps manage stress that responders may be experiencing in their home lives as well. This approach has been proven to lessen the impact of future exposures to stress.” – Firefighter Michael J. Somma, Engine Company 9 – Group C, CISM Team Coordinator

For more information, visit NATALOSMTraining.org.