Chief David Picone: Blazing Trails In San Diego

Deconstructing Comp

Jun 14 2024 • 56 mins

Another first for you! We are thrilled to introduce you to Chief David Picone, our first-ever fire chief on our podcast. He is the Fire Department Battalion Chief and Health and Safety Officer with the City of San Diego.

June is PTSD Awareness Month, so we are happy to share our recent interview with Chief Picone.

In this episode, Chief Picone shares his educational background, his desire to be a rock star, his journey as a career firefighter, and how he has grown to be a steward for cultural change with the City of San Diego Fire Department. The success of San Diego's program has attracted attention from fire departments across the nation and even the Tokyo Fire Department, the largest urban fire department in the world, and Chief Picone has been an integral part of the program since 2017.

Chief's call to action is for cities and fire departments everywhere to adopt similar changes that have been made in San Diego so that first responders get the care they need when they need it. Key elements to the City of San Diego's success include:

  • commit to building a culture of caring (it takes work!)
  • demonstrate to first responders that you care about them and value their efforts
  • encourage claims professionals to spend time with first responders to better understand the demands of their jobs
  • accelerate access to care
  • provide access to skilled and experienced medical professionals who are equipped to handle the needs of first responders, specifically when they come forward with symptoms of PTSD

A few points mentioned during this episode with Chief David Picone:

  • Firefighters and police officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty
  • First responders may experience 200+ traumatic events in their career vs. an average of 5 traumatic events in the average civilian's lifetime
  • 1 out of 3 first responders develop PTSD

City of San Diego Fire-Rescue Health and Safety Office

Drexel University's Fire Service Organizational Culture of Safety (FOCUS) program for fire departments. Learn more here:

Institutes of Health is the company offering the "Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)"

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