The aim of the study is to define and explore organizational- and worker-level factors of firefighter well-being.
Qualitative data were collected using interviews and focus group sessions among 17 career firefighters across 4 fire departments. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and a general inductive approach was used to code similar concepts into themes.
Firefighters defined well-being as being content with oneself and being able to balance ones’ emotional, mental, and physical health. Themes contributing to firefighter well-being include the nature of the job, the influence of others, and physical health. Subthemes mapping to themes include dealing with trauma, compartmentalizing work and home life, coworkers and station culture, the role of superiors on attitudes and practices, being a reliable firefighter, and lack of sleep.
Career firefighters describe well-being as a holistic approach to balancing emotional, mental, and physical health.