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County EMS honored for stress management initiative

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners accepted the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation Community Service Award on behalf of Henderson County Emergency Services last week.

Ned Fowler, Regional EMS Liaison for Mission Health System and instructor for the ICISF, and Rick Baker, a clinician and owner of Responder Support Services, submitted Henderson County for the award without the knowledge of Emergency Services. They also attended the board meeting to present the award.

Critical Incident Stress and PTSD are two side effects of a responder’s job, which have increasingly taken a toll on county first responders. Henderson County public safety leaders and county officials recognized the need for a program that would address these issues and through their effort a wide-reaching staff support program was developed. The program not only offers behavioral health services to Henderson County staff, but also offers peer support resources across North Carolina as part of the WNC Peer Support Network.

“Our personnel are our most important resource and the daily stress of the job places a tremendous impact on our responders. This award recognizes our Fire, Law Enforcement and EMS personnel for their contributions and the Board of Commissioners for their commitment to building a stronger, more resilient team,” Emergency Services Director Jimmy Brissie said.

At its World Congress in May, ICISF selected Henderson County Emergency Services as the recipient of this prestigious award for outstanding contributions to their community for critical stress management and peer support. The award is on display at the Thomas H. Thompson Emergency Services Headquarters on Asheville Highway.