This is a press release from Bloomfield Township. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

Recently, the Bloomfield Fire Department took part in NATAL resilience training facilitated by Bloomfield firefighter Oscar Morales. NATAL was established in 1998 as a comprehensive trauma treatment and resiliency training organization in Israel, whose mission is to address the prevalent problem of psychological trauma related to terrorism and war. 

“The Bloomfield Fire Department has done an exceptional job at always being proactive and ensuring that its members always have the training and skills necessary to deal with whatever they may encounter,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “NATAL is a tremendous resource for the men and women in our Fire Department that put their lives on the line to keep our community safe.”

Oscar Morales, a Bloomfield firefighter since September 2014, is a trained facilitator/instructor for NATAL: Israel Trauma & Resiliency Center UASI – Urban Area Security Initiative, New Jersey. He has been facilitating the resilience training over the past few weeks to help educate the department and his first responder peers on ways to deal with underlying stress and psychological trauma caused by responding to the emergencies within their community. The class is designed to help the first responders understand resilience and ways to implement positive coping strategies and tactics to deal with stress and trauma.

With multiple programs, 250 therapists, and 180 highly trained volunteers throughout the country, NATAL is an apolitical nonprofit organization. While NATAL’s work began in Israel, its mission resonates worldwide. In recent years, NATAL has been called upon to deliver its expertise to at-risk communities and populations outside of Israel. As part of that, NATAL has led and participated in groundbreaking work to assist American wounded warriors dealing with PTSD, as well as providing first responder resilience training.

“I would like to commend one of our own firefighters Oscar Morales for the work that he has done to teach valuable coping skills to our members through this groundbreaking program,” said Chief Lou Venezia. “Being a firefighter can be psychologically difficult and it is imperative that we have the necessary tools to deal with the potentially negative side effects that come with the territory.”

This program is made possible through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) program in order to enhance regional preparedness in major metropolitan areas. The UASI program provides funding to address the unique multi-discipline planning, operations, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas. UASI assists in building and sustaining capabilities related to terrorism prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.