Firefighters Need Help, Too.

By Kenneth Garger 07/21/11

PTSD and alcoholism go together in cops, soldiers, and firefighters.

Dealing with alcohol and job stress.
Photo via crisisboom

Canadian firefighter Jeff Mack, sober since 2008, is pushing for a national program to help support firefighters suffering from addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mack joined the Fredericton Fire Department in 2000, according to an account by the Daily Gleaner of Fredericton, New Brunswick. After a horrific life-threatening rescue, where Mack was credited with saving a fellow firefighter’s life, his emotional distress began to pile up. In the spring of 2008, Mack went on medical leave for stress. The events that followed weren’t pretty, and eventually led to him being the subject of a staged intervention documented by A&E’s Intervention. When the episode aired, his wife told the cameras: "His routine in the morning is basically get up, crack open a beer, sit on the couch and drink, barely eat and sleep and go back to bed." At the height of Mack’s alcoholism, he was pounding up to 24 beers a day, according to the report. Four a half months and $52,000 later (A&E picked up the tab), Mack is clean, sober and “urging the international firefighters union and national police chiefs to create a national committee to come up with a program to help firefighters who need help.”

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Ken Garger is a reporter for the New York Post. You can follow him on Twitter.