Firefighters in one Treasure Coast county are morning the loss of one of their own – a 27 year veteran of the department who had recently spoken out on the dangers of PTSD among fire rescue crews.
Battalion Chief David Dangerfield committed suicide over the weekend, just days after posting on Facebook how his career spent dealing with death and tragedy took its toll on him – writing in part:
"PTSD for firefighters is real. If your love one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid off (sic). It haunted me daily until now. My love to my crews. Be safe, take care. I love you all."
Those around Dangerfield – from family to co-workers – said they had no clue he had been having suicidal thoughts.
“He was seeing a doctor, for a year and a half, about 3 days a week (to deal with PTSD),” his father, Bruce, told NBC affiliate WPTV. “Nobody knew how bad he was suffering.”
A study last year conducted by Florida State University detailed just how much of an issue PTSD can be for firefighters. Nearly half of all those surveyed admitted to thinking about suicide, while 19 percent said they made plans to go through with it while 15 percent said they actually attempted suicide.
Services for Dangerfield will take place Saturday in Vero Beach.