Introducing Our New FIREWELL Research Champion Series: AMANDA BRAZIL

We’re introducing a new FIREWELL Research Champion series which profile our firefighter collaborators and their critical contributions to our research on firefighter health and wellbeing.

Meet Amanda Brazil

Amanda Brazil is a volunteer firefighter with the Cross Roads Fire Department in Prince Edward Island (PEI). She is currently completing a PhD on mental health preparedness at the University of PEI. Amanda Brazil’s combined role as a firefighter and researcher provides her a unique perspective that will help bridge the firefighter and academic cultures.

What is your PhD research?

My PhD research is exploring how and what do volunteer firefighters learn, through socialization and informal learning processes, about critical incidents and post-exposure management. There is a need throughout volunteer fire halls across the country for training and education in critical incident stress and resiliency. A preliminary step towards developing effective training is to understand how practicing volunteer firefighters currently learn about critical incidents and how to manage the impact these critical incident exposures have on their mental wellness. Although this learning doesn’t appear to be happening formally in many cases, it is inevitably still happening. The findings from my study will attempt to uncover any informal learning through the socialization of volunteer firefighters pertaining to how they understand, view and respond to critical incidents. This type of information gathering has not been done with this specific population (volunteer firefighters on Prince Edward Island) and will contribute to the existing literature on firefighters and critical incidents.

Read Amanda’s publication: Exploring Critical Incidents and Postexposure Management in a Volunteer Fire Service

How are you involved in FIREWELL?

My FIREWELL research involves examining the impact of a new resiliency skill-building program called Resilient Minds that was adopted from Vancouver and being rolled out to a sample of volunteer fire departments in Prince Edward Island. Specifically the study will look at the efficacy of the program for rural volunteer departments.

To learn more about Amanda’s FIREWELL study, click here.

Amanda’s media interviews

‘It takes a certain breed’: What drives P.E.I.’s volunteer firefighters (CBC News, January 2, 2018)

P.E.I. firefighters learning to talk about issues of mental health due to the stresses of their work (The Guardian, December 10, 2017)

P.E.I. firefighters get new mental health awareness program from B.C. (CBC News, August 21, 2017)

Volunteer firefighter explores post-traumatic stress for PhD (CBC News, April 20, 2016)


Do you want to be a FIREWELL Research Champion?

If you’re a firefighter who would like to get involved in FIREWELL research, please contact us.