A firefighter is defined as one whose duties include fire suppression, fire investigation, or fire police activities and who is actively employed on a full-time, part-time, volunteer, or contract basis by a local county, state or federal agency, with or without compensation, to provide primary fire protection for an organized jurisdiction having authority.
Duty status is not limited to active duty; firefighters who are on leave, retired, terminated or any other status are eligible.
The term “suicide” refers to someone who has died by their own hand.
First responders shall be included if a department or family states that the officer died as a result of a suicide and there is no information to believe otherwise.
Extenuating circumstances may be reviewed by the Red H.E.L.P. for inclusion on a case-by-case basis.
Once a firefighters is submitted via the online submission form, a member of the Red H.E.L.P. staff will begin the verification process.
While ALL suicides are counted and should be reported, not all will have their names and faces on the Red H.E.L.P. page because:
- The families have not given permission/ are not ready;
- They were investigation or indictment for a significant criminal offense;
- It was a murder/suicide;
- Red H.E.L.P. has not been made aware of the death.
If an officer is cleared of an investigation post-mortem, their name and face may be displayed on the Red H.E.L.P. site.
All information is held in the strictest of confidence unless the family gives written consent to use their name and likeness.
Why aren't all the names shown?
We believe it is important for you to see the number of verified suicides, whether you know their identities is up to the family; we only post personal information with their permission. We do not contact or “cold call” families, we wait for them to reach out to us. Their privacy and ability to grieve properly is of the utmost importance to us, we are counting every death, but we are only sharing the personal details if the family’s request it, matter how public the death.
Where did you get this information?
We receive information from a number of sources – internet searches, friends, family members, departments, other organizations and through our online submission form. All information is kept confidential until a family member requests that we share it publicly.
Do you include every firefighter that dies by suicide?
We count every suicide by a firefighters, this data can be parsed in many ways. It’s important for us to know as much as possible about the suicides so we can determine what is going on with the officers. While we count every one of them for analytical purposes, including murder-suicides, we only honor the service of those who meet the criteria we have laid out. Regardless of whether we decide to honor their service, we will assist every single family that has had a first responder die by suicide.
How can I include my loved one?
You can share your information with us simply so we can count your loved one in the total number of deaths or, you can submit them for display here on our site so we can honor them. Please fill out this online form and we will contact you to determine what you would like to do, if anything.
Aren't you glamorizing suicide?
No, we are not. We do not encourage suicide in any way. We are putting a spotlight on it. We are letting you know what’s happening. We are acknowledging that these men and women served your community and should not be ignored because of the way they died.
Are these all the firefighters who died by suicide?
We don’t know. There is no formal, consistent collection of this data; no national database as there is for other line of duty deaths and injuries. We are relying on the public, media and word of mouth to provide us verifiable information. We only report what we can verify. Accounting for the suicides that are not reported or “hidden” is difficult because too many people are ashamed to admit their loved one died by suicide.
Are you sure these are all suicides?
Yes. Every single one of them is verified and if we are not certain they are a suicide, they are not posted.
Why is the total number of firefighters different than the number of photos?
While we count every suicide, we do not put the names and faces of firefighters who committed murder at the time of their suicide or are under investigation at the time of their death. Please see our criteria for inclusion on this page for more information.
We provide resources for first responders, how can we help?
Register for inclusion in this searchable database so first responders can find you.
Is this for the United States only?
Although we only operate in the United States, we are happy to honor your loved one on our page regardless of where they served.