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  • Writer's pictureEmily Berchick

PODCAST: Deputy Chief Carrie Edwards-Clemons

23-year fire service veteran, paramedic and current Flint, Michigan Deputy Fire Chief Carrie Edwards-Clemons, who has served her community in every division within the fire service, discusses the daily challenges firefighters face, the toll it can take on their wellbeing and her commitment to transforming fire service culture in support of wellness, resilience and diversity as well as the responsibility of leaders to model the changes they wish to encourage in their agencies and among their personnel. The role prayer, gratitude, and thankfulness along with maintaining a strong after-work life with family, friends and community service, have played in helping her stay healthy and resilient throughout her career and the challenges and changes she has experienced as a female black firefighter in a profession made up almost entirely of white men when she began, and which remains one the least diverse public safety professions in 2021. Her role as a leader in listening to and supporting the firefighters and other staff in our agency, and how she proactively refers them to the professional support they need to work through challenging emotional and mental health challenges and occupational stress injuries. The importance of leaders proactively identifying and making available the resources their staff, who have to transition between traumatic experiences and home life on a daily basis, need for resiliency and mental health support -- their coffee and conversation initiative giving firefighters the opportunity to process difficult and potentially traumatizing job experiences.



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