DOI: 10.1177/21650799231188364 ISSN: 2165-0799

First Responder Attitudes Regarding Working Near a Supervised Injection Facility: Relationship to Burnout, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Compassion Satisfaction

Michelle L. Pennington, Jessica Dupree, Kristy Hoffman, Emily H. Beattie, Elizabeth Coe, William Ostiguy, Nathan A. Kimbrel, Eric C. Meyer, Suzy B. Gulliver
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Emergency responders are the most frequent overdose responders, however, little is known about the impact of supervised injection facility (SIF) location on first responders. The purpose of this study was to determine whether firefighter/paramedic attitudes about being stationed near an SIF were related to burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction.


Firefighter/paramedics from Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services ( n = 54) completed an online survey. General linear models were used to assess differences in burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion satisfaction based on attitudes regarding being stationed near an SIF while controlling for occupational stress.


Firefighters with negative attitudes regarding station placement near an SIF experienced more burnout compared with those with neutral/mixed attitudes and less compassion satisfaction compared with those with positive attitudes. There were no differences between those with positive and neutral/mixed attitudes.


These findings have implications for education and training of emergency responders stationed near SIFs. They also highlight the need for more research into the effects of and possible clinical opportunities needed to support first responders’ work near an SIF.

Application to Practice:

While these findings represent early exploratory evidence, increased burnout and reduced compassion satisfaction may be common reactions among first responders who experience negative attitudes toward SIFs. Prevention efforts could incorporate programs to enhance health and well-being of first responders and education regarding substance use and harm reduction, while workforce surveillance for signs of distress or burnout could be implemented to trigger additional mental health services and interventions. while policymakers should remain aware of SIF-related impacts on all stakeholders, including first responders.

More from our Archive