LFB crew: “Our Watch visited Harcombe House after the sudden death of our colleague”

A group of firefighters from Northolt Fire Station in London attended one of our Reset Programmes after going through a shared trauma. Here, two of them reflect on the visit.

In the fire service, your crew can quickly become like a second family, there for you during some of life’s toughest times – and that has certainly been true for one Watch in LFB’s Northolt Fire Station.

The station tragically lost a key member of their team in 2023. The repercussions of her death were felt right across the service, and in particular within her Watch.

We invited her colleagues to visit Harcombe House on one of our Reset Programmes together in November 2023, with the aim of helping them work through what they’d been through and discuss their different experiences of grief, as well as their overall wellbeing.

Our Reset Programme aims to help our beneficiaries develop and improve their resilience and overall mental fitness, with a programme of workshops and activities tailored to individual needs. Find out more about it here.

One of the firefighters who attended the week was Robin Williams who says: “We found it very beneficial.

“The group sessions were very good – I think some of us were worried that we’d be talking in-depth about what we’d been through, and that might be quite difficult, but we didn’t in the end – it was more about our mental wellbeing in general, which I think put some of the group at ease.

“It certainly highlighted the need to talk to us all, ahead of time before you get to a point when you really need that help. We’re all a lot more conscious of it now and we’re making sure we always have a chat about things, both at work and at home.”

And another colleague, Brandon Lee, explains how he found the week beneficial, despite never having known the colleague who passed away himself.

“I joined the Watch after [our colleague’s death], so I had a different perspective while there,” he says. “It was a really worthwhile trip from both perspectives to be honest.

“It was good to understand where everyone’s minds had been, and talk together about it.

“I’ve only been in the service for a year, so experiencing the Charity’s support early on was great – knowing it’s there for me and my immediate family, should we ever need it in the future.”

If you feel you’d benefit from our health and wellbeing support, you can call our Support Line on 0800 389 8820, make an enquiry online or visit the ‘Access Support’ tab in My Fire Fighters Charity.

And remember – if you’re feeling suicidal, you can call our Crisis Line 24 hours a day on 0300 373 0896.