In 1999, a handful of individuals, which included, Northern California first responders, (police officers, firefighters, 9-1-1 dispatchers, EMS members), clinicians and a chaplain came together to discuss and plan how to help fellow first responders overwhelmed by the debilitating impact of critical incident stress. Among that group were a few individuals who had attended The On-Site Academy in Massachusetts prior to 1999 because they were overwhelmed by the impact of critical incident stress, and they could not find the needed help on the West Coast. Experiencing how deeply their lives were affected and changed from the program at On-Site, they knew that there was a need for a similar program on the West Coast.
Over the course of two years, and with the help of the staff members from The On-Site Academy in Massachusetts, this handful of passionate and dedicated individuals created the West Coast Post-trauma Retreat (WCPR) and the first WCPR retreat was held in 2001. Soon after WCPR’s inception, the need for a Significant Other and Spouse (SOS) program was realized. WCPR, SOS, training, consultations, and outreach, all make up the First Responder Support Network (FRSN).
Since 2001 WCPR has helped over 1,300 first responders not only at their California location, but also in satellite locations in Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Kansas. The SOS program continues to grow as more and more significant others and spouses reach out for help, education, healing, and support. FRSN training programs continue to expand the peer and clinician base available to help the first responder community both nationally and internationally.
Not Forgotten by Daniel Sundahl