Masters of the Mayhem - March 19-20, 2017 Moundsville, WV
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Welcome to the Asylum - A place of refuge.
The Fire Asylum differs from other training programs in that its goal is not to teach people more about mitigating stress. Rather, TFA facilitates experiences by which each person better understands his or her own experience of stress, becoming better able to prevent situations from becoming stressful in the first place, and to more easily defuse and reduce the level of stress when it does occur.
I was recently asked, while in conversation with an instructor I respect very much, "Why." He paused. Then, "Why The Fire Asylum?"
The why is simple. There is a gap in our training and our attitude about this work. We train as if stress is bad. We work as if the job itself is out to get us. This is a serious breach, where we fail to engage the proper parts of the brain to reward us for showing up to the stresses of firefighting. The greatest lie being sold to us right now, is that stress is only bad for us. I believe stress is opportunity for growth, always. We have the ability to choose growth in this work when we train to do it.
Stress is a response of your brain and body that is more than normal: it is highly useful. In fact, it should be trained as a tool. Seriously: Stress should be used, not dismissed. It is not automatically a source of disorder to be mitigated.
Using real emotions in hands-on scenarios designed to engage and release the proper brain function is the key. This is more than merely mitigating risk and stress. This training style is about thriving in the deepest and scariest environments we work in. Coupled with an immediate information feedback loop, your brain enters flow-based decision making. The work itself becomes the reward. The outcome, however the public perceives it, is always the best we can make it be.
So, why? Because I see a day when we operate at an elite level across the entire fire service, volunteer and career alike. Mentally tough, physically ready, and spiritually resilient.
The Fire Asylum