The Survivors Conference allows survivors to relax and share their thoughts and feelings freely with others who understand the path they’re walking.
— Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki, executive director of the Naitonal Fallen Firefighters Foundation
When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, life changes forever for the surviving family members. For families of firefighters who have been honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, there is a place to go each year to find support and comfort, make new friends, and create new memories.
Each year the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation hosts a conference devoted to the needs of adult survivors who have lost a firefighter in the line of duty. Survivors attend workshops on a variety of topics related to grief, wellness, self-care, and practical skills. They spend time getting to know one another in small groups, during meals, and on evening outings.
The conference is open to adult survivors of firefighters who have been honored at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Spouses, significant others, parents, siblings, and adult children are invited to attend. The Conference is supported by a grant from the Department of Justice.
What Previous Conference Attendees Say
It is difficult to put into words the impact of the conference-NFFF staff ready to assist you in any way possible, new friends from all over the country, local firemen who are there to help all week, informative and interesting sessions, lots of laughing and crying. The best one-word description is FAMILY.
When I decided to go I was very nervous about the whole trip. This was the first time I have traveled solo. I pictured myself when not in sessions sitting alone or in my room, but that was not the case at all. I immediately connected with someone on the shuttle from the airport who was also a first-time attendee. The people were so friendly.
I really wasn’t excited about some of the workshop topics and didn’t think that I would learn much. The presenters were incredibly knowledgeable and I learned so much. I only regret that I couldn’t attend more. I was impressed with the quality of the topics, material, and presenters.
This is an environment where you can be 100% yourself without any judgment. You can laugh, cry, vent without anyone suggesting you get over it or it’s too soon to be laughing again. It’s a chance to focus on ourselves and our own healing, rather than that of our children, family, or others.
This conference is an uplifting, positive experience where you will meet others that speak your language and can help carry some of your burdens as a fire service survivor. A truly caring and compassionate environment.