Public Safety Advocate
Matt Fiorenza is an Outreach Specialist for First Responder Wellness. Matt is also employed as a Firefighter/Paramedic for the City of Anaheim, California where he has worked for the last 19 years.
Matt’s journey started when he moved back to California from Wisconsin, his passion to become a Firefighter was unrelenting. His schedule was arduous as he maintained a full-time job, completed his undergraduate degree, became a certified EMT and was about to start a family. In 2001, Matt had two major life events occur. First, after 5 years of striving toward his goal, The City of Anaheim accepted him as a rookie in March. Lastly, he became a father for the first time in August of 2001.
After ten years on the job, Matt encountered a myriad of critical incident stressors and like many first responders was unsure how to process traumatic events. To make matters worse Matt suffered a work-related injury which would later result in surgery as well as numerous mandatory shifts where he experienced extended periods of time away from his family.
Matt found himself in a deep depression with no escape hatch. Thoughts of suicide and a struggle with alcohol use and depression consumed his life until he reached out for help. Matt’s journey to health has placed him on the path of hope and resilience. Through his trials and recovery, he has found a passion for sharing his story and encouraging others. Matt has reclaimed his life and shows up as a son, brother, husband, and father for his family.
Today, he is a mentor for men in 12-step programs, volunteers as a Shepherd for Save A Warrior, and is an Outreach Specialist for First Responder Wellness. Matt is a trusted member of Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s Peer Support Team, an instructor with Santa Ana College, Basic Fire Academy where he sets the precedent for healthier coping skills with new recruits as they begin their journey towards their public safety careers. He has spoken on mental health and addiction at the Public Safety Peer Support Association, The International Public Safety Association and Firehouse World Conferences.