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|Last Updated: Monday, November 05, 2012|
Chaplain Training for Fire Departments and EMS Agencies
A nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization, the National Center for Chaplain Development (NCCD) provides community support and emotional assistance to first responders. Chaplains such as NCCD Founder Ken Schlenker are training people to help firefighters, EMS workers, law enforcement agents, and military personnel deal with the stresses of being first responders.
"What we are trying to do is, we are trying to equip people with skill sets in order to come along side of our first responder community. They are our modern day warriors. They're the heroes of today. We are trying to be first responders to the first responders. Providing these skill sets to individuals and embedding them in the organization so that they can deal with the potential aftermath of the crisis," explained Schlenker.
Through offering specialized training to those involved as chaplains, workshops are being conducted in the Southern California region and are quickly having an impact on those who are involved as chaplains in their various agencies.
NCCD supports and develops chaplaincy by:
• Consulting individuals interested in chaplaincy
• Supporting the development of ministry opportunities
• Speaking to organizations about chaplaincy ministry
• Educating individuals and organizations on secular purposes of chaplains providing various courses
Larry Grihalva with the California State Firefighters Association and one of the participants at a recent first responder training session said, "I wish I had this 20 years ago. I hope to, through California State Firefighters Association, work with Pastor Ken to set up a curriculum for the average firefighter, the average ambulance attendant, to give them the resiliency skills to deal with things like death notification. How do you tell someone their loved one has died? It's a very difficult thing and we're not really trained how to do it. What to say, what not to say. That not only helps us in our patient care, but it makes ourselves healthy when we go home to our families, so we don't take the stress home with us."
"Other people don't understand, unless they are part of the fire service themselves, or public safety in some way. They don't understand what we go through. So, I thought if I have something to offer through the good and the bad, I need to use that to help the others, and so that was really my motivation. It's been terrific and it's been well received and for that, I am very blessed," stated Tricia Higgins of the Chino Valley Fire District.
The National Center for Chaplain Development is offering upcoming seminars in the Southern California area including:
Grief Following Trauma
Dec 10 - 11
Jan 10 - 14
Chino Hills, CA
Advanced registration for these and other courses can be done online here.
While this growing organization is still gaining a foothold in the first responder community, it's the hope of Chaplain Ken Schlenker that a new culture of caring will be a widespread benefit to firefighters, EMS workers, police officers and military personnel everywhere.
Schlenker added, "We need to get in the situation as soon as we possibly can, as close to the scene as happens, with brief and simple interventions that can provide hope to the person, to kind of give them the ability to decompress, so that cycle is mitigated as soon as we possibly can."
To learn more about the center, you can visit their website, www.NCCDAT.org or call them toll free at 866-949-6223.
Author:J.R. Ybarra - Video, R. Marquart - Text
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