Sup. Barger Authors Motion to Address Workplace Trauma at LA County Fire

LOS ANGELES COUNTY —The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, coauthored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to address workplace trauma among Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters and personnel.


“The tragedy at Fire Station 81 was a heartbreaking reminder that while we have done a lot to improve access and awareness of behavioral health and mental health resources, we need to do more,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “This motion aims to support our firefighters and provide them with the services they need to minimize the long-lasting impact from exposure to traumatic incidents. I am committed to working alongside our Fire Department, labor representatives and county partners to provide healing and help to Los Angeles County fire personnel.” 


“There’s no doubt that our firefighters are heroes– but they are also human,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “The trauma that our first responders go through can have a devastating impact on their mental health and the demands of the job can keep them away from their families for long periods of time. We need to take steps to address these serious issues and give our firefighters the support they need.”


If passed, the motion will direct the L.A. County Fire Department to work with the Chief Executive Officer, Department of Human Resources and Department of Mental Health and report back in 60 days with a plan to address workplace trauma, including creating a unit that will develop proactive and reactive strategies and programs.


The report back will consider a revamp of the existing internal Peer Support Counselor program. The motion also calls for an assessment of the effectiveness of the current grievance and internal and external complaint process to ensure personnel feel comfortable voicing their concerns. There will be a plan to provide mental health visits for employees and their families with culturally competent clinicians, plus peer support and clinician support to retirees.


To address staffing concerns, the motion also asks the Fire Department to reduce vacancies and workers compensation injury vacancies and to significantly decrease staff recalls that are necessitated by vacancies and injuries.