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2459 Canfield Road
Akron, Ohio 44312

Phone: 330.794.1739 Fax: 330.794.0400

 

Fire Department Chaplain

Chaplain Bryant.jpg

Rev. Ronald Bryant, Chaplain

Message From Rev. Bryant:

I usually visit each station once a day (except when I'm out of town).I am a trained “Critical Incident Stress Management Debriefer” and have been involved with debriefings with the fire department and the Springfield Township Police Department.   I respond to Code 1 incidents, to what I determine to be major accidents, and   to pages from the Fire Chief or the office.   Sometimes I go to the station and spend the day riding in the squad with the crew.   I am under the direct supervision of the Fire Chief or someone appointed by him.

 

Why A Fire Chaplain?

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”   ---(SofS 2:4)

Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher Northgate Baptist Church

I will attempt to answer the question: “What is a Fire Chaplain and what is his/her purpose. First, a Fire Chaplain is not a spokesperson for the Fire Department and he does not get involved in Departmental policies or politics. Neither is a Fire Chaplain there for the purpose of proselytizing converts to his particular church. A Fire Chaplain's primary focus is on the needs of the Fire Department and whatever situation the Firefighters encounter where the Chaplain may be of service to both the Firefighters and the community the Fire Department serves.

A part of the everyday life of any fire department is the coping with stressful situations that arise from encounters with battling fires and emergency situations. When people fall apart upon discovering they are burned out of their homes, or have lost all their belongings, or worse yet, have lost a loved one, how can Firefighters handle these demands for attention in addition to fighting the fire. One way that many Departments have found helpful is through the use of Volunteer Chaplains who can assist them by taking over some of these concerns while the Firefighters continues their attack on the fire.

For example, a home is fully involved when the engines arrive, and the Firefighters begin to break window and cut holes in the roof for ventilation of smoke and gases, and to attack the fire. The family is watching, and begins to feel that the Firefighters are more interested in wrecking their home than trying to put out the fire.   Then the Chaplain, who has been called out on his pager to respond to the scene, gathers the family together and explains to them why these things are happening. Therefore, the Firefighter is not interfered with that he may continue on with his business of attacking the fire.

Or, an elderly woman watches in terror as her husband of many years is experiencing cardiac arrest, and the paramedics are working feverishly on him.“What are they doing to him?” she screams! The Chaplain takes her off to the side to comfort her tension and fears for the moment, and offers to make important phone calls for her. Therefore, the paramedics are not interfered with so that they may continue their efforts to save a life.

In answer to the question: “What would a Chaplain do?” – Let me list just a few of the responsibilities of a Fire Department Chaplain:

1.   Provide guidance and counseling for fire personnel for job-related problems and personal problems, including counseling with immediate family members.

2.   Assist in any way possible when fire personnel are seriously injured, ill, or deceased.

3.   Attend various departmental social functions and participate when appropriate. Conduct weddings, memorial services, funerals and religious activities when requested, including invocations and benedictions at official city functions.

4.   Assist in training programs at the Fire and Police Academy when requested.

5.   Be available to all fire personnel.   Any communications a person makes to the Chaplain is strictly on a confidential basis and will not be released to departmental members or any other person.   Any fire personnel may go to the Chaplain without having to notify his or her supervisor or anyone else.

6.   Attend Fire Department staff meetings, when requested.

7.   Provide spiritual guidance and counseling upon request.

8.   Available to fire personnel to assist with unusual problems encountered when the normal channels of solution do not remove the stress.

9.   Responds to all major fire situations for aid to fire personnel and to aid in panic situations with civilians.

10. Available to victims of tragedy to help citizens receive aid from the Red Cross and other organizations.

11. Keep distraught citizens from interfering with the work of Firefighters or rescue attempts.

12. Reports to hospitals in case of major injuries, quickly determines the extent of injuries, notifies family members, and provides transportation if needed.   Works with family members of deceased Firefighters, making sure they are aware of all benefits available to them.

 

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