The First Responders Resiliency team, from left, Ron Shull, Devyn Brelin and Shell Brandt meet in their new Santa Rosa office on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The company has a contract with Cal Fire to train thousands of state firefighters in methods to deal with the inevitable stress of fire season. Photo taken (Photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)
She didn’t know it, but retired paramedic Susan Farren’s timing was impeccable.
A bout with kidney cancer in 2016 ended her long career on ambulances. Her experience with the illness opened her eyes to research showing first responders are more susceptible to certain diseases and health problems. A common factor is stress.
Once healthy, she sold her house to get the seed money to start First Responders Resiliency Inc. in early 2017. The nonprofit program teaches police, fire and emergency workers how stress affects the body and practices to withstand the pressures from their jobs.