About the IAFF Peer Support Training

The IAFF Peer Support Training is a two-day classroom program delivered by IAFF master peer support instructors.

After completing the training, members have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide support to their peers, have a basic understanding of common behavioral health issues affecting the fire service, can serve as a bridge to community resources or behavioral health treatment when indicated, and are able to build or enhance their peer support programs.

Curriculum

Participants must first complete the online IAFF Behavioral Health Awareness Course. The two-hour course is self-paced and tailored for the fire service.

Subsequently, members participate in the two-day interactive training taught by experienced peers in the fire service. The curriculum focuses on active listening, confidentiality, general assessment and suicide assessment, crisis intervention, action planning, outreach, self-care and building an effective peer support program.

Instructors use small group learning methods and skill-building exercises to encourage student participation and mastery of the material.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

International Association of Fire Fighters
Attn: Health and Safety Department
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006-5395

Training Prerequisites

Participants first complete the online IAFF Behavioral Health Awareness Course. The free two-hour course is self-paced, tailored for the fire service. Information about accessing the prerequisite is emailed to each registered participant prior to the Peer Support Training.

The course is available to anyone, regardless of IAFF membership or participation in a Peer Support Training. To register for the Behavioral Health Awareness Course, visit the IAFF Online Learning Center Course Catalog.

Scheduling

Training is scheduled on two consecutive weekdays for eight hours per day. The IAFF strives to accommodate requested training dates based on instructor availability. To assure enough lead time for preparations, please request dates at least three months in advance.

To schedule a Peer Support Training for your local or department, complete the IAFF Peer Support Training Request Form and email it to [email protected] 

Payment of Fees

The Peer Support Training fee is a fixed payment of $9,000 for a maximum of 30 participants ($300/per person). Payment is due 30 days prior to the class date.

To fill the class, the host site is encouraged to contact neighboring IAFF affiliates and departments to seek additional participants. In these cases, the host site may collect pro-rated registration fees from added participants to offset the training cost.

Host Site Responsibilities

  • Any IAFF-affiliated department can serve as a host site.
  • Arrange for training space with tables to seat a minimum of 30 people and an instructor’s table at the front of the room. The room must be free of distractions and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Supply training equipment, including LCD projector, screen, computer, sound, dry erase board or flip chart and markers.
  • Sign a contract with the IAFF and pay the full training fee in advance.
  • Identify one person to serve as the point of contact. This person secures a training space, navigates the contract-signing process, handles registration, communicates with participants and oversees other logistics.
  • Suggest lunch options so that participants can finish lunch within the one-hour break each day.

IAFF Responsibilities

  • Provide a two-day training on peer support.
  • Arrange for two instructors to deliver the training and pay all instructor-related expenses (e.g., travel, hotel).
  • Provide guidance on meeting logistics.
  • Supply and ship student manuals and handouts to registered participants.
  • Provide the host a customized announcement of the IAFF Peer Support Training date, location, time and point of contact.
  • Provide access to the online behavioral health course.

Attendees

Fire service personnel of any rank or position (e.g., fire fighter, paramedic, chaplain, dispatcher, etc.) may participate in the training. Members who are already providing peer support are also welcome to participate.

Host sites may choose to invite other relevant community members (e.g., EAP and workers’ compensation representatives, local behavioral health providers and researchers) to expose these non-fire personnel to fire fighter and EMS culture.

Certificates will be awarded once the participant completes the final online training evaluation. (Note: Local peer support programs may establish their own eligibility requirements and application processes that trained peer supporters must also complete.)

For additional information, contact [email protected].

Find a Training

Because trainings typically fill up up quickly, the upcoming training schedule is not posted online.

Occasionally, a host site indicates space is available for outside participants. The IAFF maintains a list to alert those who have expressed interest of class openings. This typically occurs within a few weeks of the training dates.

Individuals who want to participate in the training at another host site must (1) obtain the approval of their local president; (2) register and communicate directly with the host point of contact; and (3) be responsible for travel expenses and any registration fee charged by the host.

Sign up to be placed on the Peer Support Training Contact List.

If your local or department is interested in hosting training, please complete the IAFF Peer Support Training Request Form and email it to [email protected]

Advanced Training

Prerequisites

To take advanced peer support trainings, you must first successfully complete the online Behavioral Health Awareness course and the two-day, in-person IAFF Peer Support Training.

Cost

Training is available online at no cost.

How to Access

Visit the IAFF Online Learning Center Course Catalog, then click the Sign In button in the upper right corner and enter your credentials. If you have met the above prerequisite requirements, click the Advanced Training button in the top navigation, then click the Register button next to the course description.

Questions? Contact [email protected]


Available Advanced Training 

Disaster Response Peer Support

The Disaster Response Peer Support training was developed as a result of more frequent and more severe natural and man-made disasters. The training provides peer supporters with information on how disasters contribute to behavioral health problems and how to intervene. Participants will learn the importance of promoting five key concepts: safety, calming, efficacy, connectedness and hope.

The goal of the program is to:

  • Describe how disasters can contribute to behavioral health problems.
  • Identify how peer support after a disaster is different than a typical peer support call or activity.
  • List the multiple roles involved in providing peer support at a disaster area.
  • Apply five principles that should guide all disaster response.
  • Identify self-care activities for peer supporters before, during and after deploying to a disaster area.
  • List available IAFF resources for disaster relief.

Coming Soon: Safety Planning Intervention for Suicide Prevention

Become an Instructor

The Peer Support Training is delivered by IAFF master instructors who are appointed by the General President.

The IAFF accepts applications to become a Peer Support Training Instructor, but may not expand its instructor roster every year.

For qualifications and requirements, see the Peer Support Training Program Instructor Application.