A new suicide crisis line for fire crews has received a harrowing number of calls in its first month.

The Firefighters Charity launched the new crisis line on November 1 in a bid to directly help firefighters and fire service personnel actively experiencing thoughts of suicide.

The line took 24 calls in the first month as the charity recognises an increased risk of suicide for first responders due to the trauma they witness on the job.

Mark Hardingham, chair of the National Fire Chiefs, said: “A death by suicide devastates family, friends, colleagues and the wider community.

"In fire and rescue services, where people often work in small teams, the impact of someone taking their own life has a devasting impact on the immediate team, the individual fire service and the entire fire and rescue services family.

“The new Crisis Line will provide immediate support where any member of the fire service community with suicidal thoughts can speak to a clinician any time of day or night and receive individual support.

"The new service has the full backing of the National Fire Chiefs Council and UK fire and rescue services.”

The phone line is open 24/7 and staffed by clinicians who have experience dealing with the unique trauma that fire crews can suffer from.

Sharon Bailey, director of beneficiary services at The Firefighters Charity, said: "Every suicide is a tragedy, with a life cut short.

"So, while I wish that there was no need for our crisis line, this first month has demonstrated just how important it is.”

Dr Jill Tolfrey, chief executive of The Fire Fighters Charity, added: "By launching our Crisis Line, we can offer specialised support to our beneficiaries.

"Whatever the time of day, there will be someone on the end of the phone who understands the unique pressures facing those who work in the emergency services, and who can offer the vital support that’s needed in that moment and thereafter, through immediate and ongoing support.”

With the Charity’s annual running costs funded almost entirely through donations, the set-up and first-year costs of the new Crisis Line have been funded by the Blue Light Card Foundation (BLCF), with sustainability funding for two subsequent years agreed by fire and rescue services, supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).

The Fire Fighters Charity 24/7 Crisis Line number is 0300 373 0896 and the Charity’s suite of online resources for anyone worried about themselves or someone else can be accessed here.

To support The Fire Fighters Charity, click here.