California Professional Firefighters

WATCH: CPF Online Town Hall for Firefighters and Families

As firefighters, our members are the tip of the spear in any natural disaster. When the 9-1-1 call comes in, it is our firefighters who are usually first on scene, putting the lives and health of the public and patients ahead of their own.

So it has been with the current, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike a fire or a flood, however, the physical risk isn’t confined to the workplace. The risk also envelops loved ones, friends, neighbors, all of whom are confronting the same altered reality of life under lockdown or quarantine. This over-arching anxiety lays over the daily pressure of being a firefighter, or the loved one of a firefighter.

The toll it takes – mentally and emotionally – can overwhelm even the strongest of our members, and it’s definitely taking its toll on their families.

In an effort to address this new and uncharted component of firefighter behavioral health, California Professional Firefighters in May conducted an online “town hall” forum on behavioral health -- The Hidden Toll of COVID-19. Firefighters, family members and behavioral health experts offered support and guidance for members and families confronting their unique role in the national pandemic.


Among those who joined us for the evening were Sean Kaldor, San Jose Firefighters Local 230 president whose members were the first to see the virus hit their members; Nancy Alvarez, an L.A. County Fire nurse whose husband and son are Long Beach police officers; LA County Fire Captain Scott Ross, who heads up the department’s peer support team, Lauren Dale, also one of LA County Fire’s peer support leaders, and Dr. Steven Froehlich, a clinician who heads up LA City’s behavioral health department.

In addition to offering insights on their own experiences and lessons, the group also heard the concerns of front line firefighters and family members during the forum.

If you weren’t able tune in to the online town hall live, the event was recorded and you can watch it (or listen to it) any time. You can watch it here.

You can also find the link at or

CPF is also tracking the impact of the pandemic on firefighters on the CPF Fire Wire podcast. Find it at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podbean or wherever you get podcasts.