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May 28, 2020

First-Responder Trauma

Using information gathered from interviews with mid- to high-level supervisors from several local law enforcement agencies, as well as fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) staff members, the presenters discuss insights into the impact of this work on first responders, the measures agencies have taken to minimize negative effects on staff members, and products or tools required to advance these efforts.


Although first-responder trauma tends to be cumulative with multiple exposures to impactful incidents over time, the opioid crisis has placed new demands on first responders, compounding levels of job-related stress and exposing trauma individuals and organizations experience.


First responders now have added responsibilities vital to the nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing potential traumatic exposures for an already stressed group of professionals. This underscores the importance of ensuring that first responders have the information and support they need to continue to serve their communities and the nation.


During this webinar, we:

  • Describe two ways the opioid crisis can affect the community and first responder agencies and staff.
  • Identify at least one sign that can indicate how first responders dealing with the opioid crisis are experiencing stress/secondary trauma/compassion fatigue.
  • Discuss what resources exist, and identify at least one tool the field requires to specifically address first responder trauma and stress that result from new challenges posed by the opioid crisis.
  • List a priority step COSSAP grantee programs can take to promote promote first-responder resilience.


  • Jac Charlier, MPA, Executive Director, TASC Center for Health and Justice
  • Hope Fiori, MPPA, Administrator of Consulting and Training, TASC Center for Health and Justice
  • Niki Miller, M.S., CPS, Senior Research Associate, Advocates for Human Potential

To view a PDF version of the slide deck that was used during this presentation, click here.

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