About the IAFF Peer Support Training

The IAFF Peer Support Training is delivered by IAFF master peer support instructors in two formats: 1) two days in person or 2) three days online.

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 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.

Host a Training

In-Person Training

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 prerequisite 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 welcomed 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].

Virtual Training

Scheduling

Training is scheduled on three consecutive weekdays for six 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 four months in advance.

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

Payment of Fees

The Peer Support Training fee is a fixed payment of $4,600 for a maximum of 20 participants ($230/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. Host responsibilities:

  • Sign a contract with the IAFF and pay the full training fee in advance.
  • Identify one person to serve as the point of contact (POC). The POC is responsible for getting the contract signed by the appropriate IAFF local or department officer and returning it to the IAFF in timely manner.
  • Share the unique registration link with desired participants.

Individual Student Responsibilities:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate off shift from a remote and quiet location. Each student is required to have a reliable internet connection.
  • Each student is required to attend the training from an individual computer with a webcam and microphone. Students are not permitted to join from cell phones, iPads or tablets.
  • Students may not share a computer during the training.
  • Students may not join the training from more than one device.

IAFF Responsibilities

  • Provide a three-day virtual training on peer support on a secure online platform.
  • Arrange for three instructors to deliver the training and pay all instructor-related expenses.
  • Supply and ship student manuals and handouts to each individually registered participant at the address they designate during registration.
  • Provide the host a customized flyer, announcing the training date, time and point of contact to register.
  • Provide access to the online prerequisite behavioral health course.
  • Provide students the Zoom link to access the two-day training.
  • Send certificates to participants who have completed the training, prerequisite, and post-training evaluation survey.

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 welcomed 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 Virtual Training

Trainings are hosted by an IAFF local or affiliated fire department. Host sites typically choose to limit attendance to their own IAFF local or neighboring departments. Occasionally, a host site has space available for outside participants. The IAFF maintains a list of those who have expressed interest in learning when class openings occur.

Individuals who want to participate in the training at another host site must: (1) obtain the approval of their local president and (2) pay the registration fee, if applicable, by credit card during registration.

Sign up here to be notified of scheduled virtual trainings, which will also be listed on this page.

Upcoming Virtual Trainings

Individuals may register for only one class and cannot register on behalf of others. Registration is non-transferable. Obtain approval from your local president prior to registering. Your local president will be notified that you have registered. You will be required to login with your IAFF username and password to register. If you do not know your username or password, follow the prompts below the sign-in box.

There are no upcoming virtual trainings at this time. 

Find an In-Person Training

Trainings are hosted by an IAFF local or affiliated fire department. Because host sites typically choose to limit attendance to their own IAFF local or neighboring departments, the upcoming training schedule is not posted online.

Occasionally, a host site has space available for outside participants. The IAFF maintains a list of those who have expressed interest in learning when class openings occur. Notification is typically sent to the list within a few weeks of the training date.

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.

Advanced Training

Prerequisites

To take advanced peer support trainings, you must first successfully complete the online Behavioral Health Awareness course and the 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 

Safety Planning Intervention for Suicide Prevention

The Safety Planning Intervention for Suicide Prevention training covers how to complete the Safety Planning Intervention with fire fighters who have made a suicide attempt, reported thinking about suicide or who otherwise may be at risk of suicide. Through this process, the fire fighter will learn how to recognize when they are experiencing a suicidal crisis and will develop a prioritized written list of tools they can use to keep themselves safe. This Safety Plan acts as an emergency plan, or standard operating guide (SOG), to avert a crisis and prevent the fire fighter from acting on their suicidal thoughts or urges.

After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Determine a fire fighter’s suicidal risk and when the Safety Planning Intervention is appropriate.
  • Explain the suicidal crisis model and the rationale for developing a Safety Plan.
  • List the six steps of the Safety Plan worksheet and describe their purpose.
  • Provide guidance when choosing the most effective tools to complete each Safety Planning step.
  • Identify barriers that are frequently encountered when creating a Safety Plan.
  • Plan an appropriate follow-up after the intervention.

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.

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.