PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In the wake of the suicide death last week of Philadelphia Firefighter Jack Slivinski, the Firefighter’s Union is sounding the alarm.

The president of the union, Bill Gault, wants to make everyone aware of the stress first responders face and how tragedies like this can be prevented.

Gault says Slivinkski’s death has shaken the entire department.

“We’re 911. We’re the guys you call when it’s an emergency. But sometimes we need help. And sometimes we have to ask for it. We have to be big enough to do that. We have resources. We have to use them.”

Gault says the suicide rate among fire fighters and medics is higher then the general population.

“Right now, I’d like to talk to my membership and I’d like to ask them, look around at your crew. Look at your company. If you see anyone going through any kind of withdrawal, talk to them. We can get someone for them to talk too.”

Gault says 32-year-old Slivinski was a man who dedicated his life to saving others, and he would want first responders to step forward now to get the help he didn’t receive.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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