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IAFF Assists with Peer Counseling for First Responders at Deadly High School Shooting


MTD Executive Board Member and International Association of Fire Fighters’ (IAFF) General President Harold Schaitberger arrived in South Florida the day after a deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, to offer support and assistance to dozens of IAFF members from several South Florida locals who were among the 50 first responders at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Schaitberger met with the 12th District Vice President Walt Dix, state and local union affiliates, and the Coral Springs fire chief to assess the needs, including counseling and peer support assistance to members of the Metro Broward Local 3080, Broward County Local 4321, Pompano Beach Local 1549, and Fort Lauderdale Local 765, all of whom provided rescue, triage treatment, and transport that day.

On Valentine’s Day, just after 2.p.m., news reports stated that Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student opened fire, killing 17 students and teachers while wounding 14 others.

“Our members were just amazing throughout this emergency,” said Metro Broward Local 3080 President Brian Powell. “This was truly a tough scene to work through, but they were awesome and saved lives. Unfortunately what these members saw at the scene cannot be unseen.”

“We are here to make sure that our members and the staff who worked this tragic scene – as well as their families – are aware of the behavioral health and counseling resources available to them. We want them to know the IAFF will be with them to address any behavioral issues now and in the long term,” Schaitberger added.


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