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Updates
Kyle Bode has been in the fire service for more than 20 years and he’s a proud MnFIRE peer supporter. Peer supporters like Kyle are a crucial support system for Minnesota’s 20,000 firefighters and their families. They provide free and confidential support to their fire service brothers and sisters experiencing personal, emotional or work-related problems....
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Contributed by Nicholas E. Blonien, D.O. What if you were told there is a drug that prevents cancer, cardiovascular disease, and mental illness? Not only is the drug free, but it also has zero negative side effects, is nearly impossible to overdose on and offers seemingly endless additional health benefits. Would you take it? That...
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We’re thrilled to announce that former Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto has joined MnFIRE as our first-ever Director of Business Affairs. Rebecca brings nearly four decades of public, private and nonprofit experience, deep financial expertise and strong relationships across the state to the MnFIRE team. A well-known and well-respected leader, Rebecca served as Minnesota State...
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Contributed by Nicholas E. Blonien, D.O. Cancer remains a leading cause of firefighter mortality. Despite marvelous advances in diagnostic technologies and therapeutics, healthy lifestyle choices are still a powerful prevention strategy, especially for those in the higher-risk firefighting field. Earlier in 2023, leaders in firefighter research published a review of current evidence supporting the effectiveness...
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Our trained Peer Support network is made up of firefighters and firefighter family members of all ranks and backgrounds from across the state, and they’re a crucial lifeline to Minnesota’s 20,000 firefighters and their families – from coping with difficult calls to talking through life problems like divorce or a death in the family. Jen...
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In tandem with our medical experts, dedicated MnFIRE training instructors like Andy Willenbring deliver crucial education about cancer, cardiac, emotional wellness, fitness, nutrition, sleep and more to fire departments across the state – and we couldn’t do it without them. Andy has been in the fire service for 23 years, a goal of his since...
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Contributed by Paul J. Anderson II, M.D. As a firefighter, anything can happen on a shift or a call. That’s why firefighters are trained to always be sharp and ready. But the beverages you consume when you aren’t on duty could impair your performance when the call comes in. Caffeine and alcohol can both have harmful...
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“We had an incident where a person lost their life in a grain bin. We all knew this farmer who lost his life. Once we left the scene, I knew it had touched all of us,” explained Chief Jeff Leuer of the West Suburban Fire District, a paid on-call department of 50 firefighters covering 50...
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Contributed by MnFIRE Mental Health Director Melinda Coscarelli, PhD, LPCC, LADC As firefighters, you’re taught to always be prepared. Your department spends hours practicing and preparing for that moment when someone calls for help. But how do you answer the call from one of your own? Mental health problems can come in all sizes, from...
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To Our Minnesota Fire Service Sisters and Brothers: Everyone at MnFIRE joins the entire state as we mourn the loss of Burnsville firefighter/paramedic Adam Finseth and police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge in yesterday’s tragedy. During this difficult time, please remember that the full resources of the MnFIRE Assistance Program are available to all...
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The Minnesota Firefighter Initiative is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit recognized by the IRS. Tax/EIN number: 38-4049248.

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