Fault Lines

The Final Call: Why Firefighters Commit Suicide

Fault Lines explores the hidden epidemic of suicide among US firefighters and asks why more isn’t being done to help.

Suicide rates are on the increase among firefighters in the United States. 

The average person can't imagine the crap that we see out there. We take care of everybody, but we also see the worst of the worst out there in the world, day in and day out. Firefighters are killing themselves in record numbers these days. It's just kind of a dirty secret of the profession.

by Tim Casey, former firefighter-paramedic

They are three times more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, according to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, an organisation chartered by Congress to honour and provide support to the families of firefighters killed on the job.

They routinely witness traumatic events as they are called to the scenes of mass shootings, murders, suicides, road accidents, and instances of child abuse, among myriad other incidents.

While researching this story, Fault Lines spoke at length to Tim Casey, a former firefighter-paramedic who posted videos online about his traumatic memories and his struggle with trauma and depression.

Three weeks before we were due to interview Casey on camera, he killed himself.

Through the story of Casey and other firefighters like him, Fault Lines investigates this hidden epidemic and asks who is ultimately responsible for addressing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide in America’s fire service.