This paper identifies the chaplain's role in promoting preventive resilience-based pastoral care through supportive resources and community networks. This paper shares information gathered through observation, personal experience, and a literature review that firefighters are more resilient because of their strong sense of community, and their commitments to God, each other, and their families.
In the first chapter, the author writes about personal experiences and observations that lead to an interest and study of the fire chaplain's role in promoting resilience in firefighters and their families.
The second chapter, entitled “Fire Chaplaincy” shares a historical perspective and addresses the duties and responsibilities of a fire department chaplain.
The third chapter, entitled “A Biblical Example for Resiliency” gives a biblical framework for the promotion of resiliency. The literature review explores the stories of Abraham and Sarah and surveys ways in which connectedness to God, family, and community have helped families rebound from life's challenges.
In the fourth chapter, entitled “Theoretical Grounding: Froma Walsh's Foundations of a Family Resiliency Approach” one finds the definitions of “resilience” and “connectedness” that frame the discussion on key interactional processes that empower families to be resilient.
The fifth chapter, entitled “Implications for the Ministry of Preventive Pastoral Care with Firefighters and their Families” gives the practical aspects of the chaplains' roles in promoting resilience in firefighters and their families. The reader will find along with some challenges that firefighters and their families face, an overview of strength-based programs such as Critical Incident Stress Management and Fire Families Support and Awareness Programs.
The final chapter, entitled “Conclusion” addresses the need for a “Fire Chaplain Survey.” The purpose of this survey will be to learn from other chaplains' experiences about their specific preventive pastoral care programs and community resources that promote resilience. The fire chaplain is instrumental in implementing stress-hardy programs. There is great strength and resilience in the chaplain-firefighter relationship and the movement toward more strength-based programs are endless.