Our First Alarm Wellness Team
Our emergency worker support team is the best in the business of first responder behavioral health.
Professionally, we come from a variety of backgrounds so that we can meet your department’s needs in the most efficient and effective way possible.
We “get” your challenges and we respect your culture. Every single member of our team has been in the trenches with you in one way or another. Our clients know we understand them and they trust us.
Or, in the words of one of our clients, “They know their shit and they do no harm.”
Tina Casola, LMFT
Founder and President
Almost a decade ago, “I was ‘hijacked’ from my work at the V.A.
At that time very little was being talked about let alone being done in fire service world in regards to mental wellness. There were no articles, conferences and a peer team was as rare as a unicorn!
A friend in the fire department came to me, concerned about coworkers. Having listened to me prattle on at barbeques and social events about my work with PTS, he recognized that they had a gap.
We talked about the lack of understanding and support that first responders were getting. No one quite knew what needed to be done — just that a crisis was developing.
From then on, I knew where my place was. Even when I’ve tried to quit, the universe has been quick to remind me this is my place.”
“In the beginning, my job was to convince agencies that behavioral health support was even necessary. Now the question is ‘how do we deliver these services the best way possible?”
“I am so proud of the team we’ve put together and the alliances we’ve made with other purposeful organizations and people who work with similar passion towards the same goal- doing right by others. It’s not a money thing, it’s a people thing.”
Tina works directly with agencies, individuals and family members; provides structured training, and speaks at conferences — always with the goal of keeping the discussion going.
Sapna Lee, LMFT
Sapna has been a marriage and family therapist for twenty years, but what she loves about working with emergency workers is how genuine they are.
First responders take their role in serving the community seriously. They understand their lives are going to be full of “lower-case trauma” (i.e. the daily grind), and occasionally “upper-case Trauma” (the hard core situations). “Emergency workers need you to be genuine and they need to feel you care about them. If they think you’re being genuine with them and you really care, they’ll connect.
“The real therapy takes place at the kitchen table — with each other. That’s why shaping peer support is crucial.”
Sapna practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and EMDR — an innovative method that’s proven to help the brain process and store trauma.
Keynan Hobbs, PMHNP-BC
Keynan is a Board-Certified Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Practitioner who has been counseling full-time for over a decade. His focus is treating PTSD in first responders and military/veterans.
“I’m a combat veteran myself, and understanding the nuances of military/veteran culture is a big part of what I bring…first responder culture is VERY similar, not just that many people work in the field after military service, but the mindset, traditions, and professional identity is much the same.
“Sometimes people say ‘this work is hard, but it isn’t combat…’ but trust me, it’s more the same than different, and the effects are identical.”
Clarissa Laughlin, LCSW
Before Clarissa began studying to become a therapist, she was a full-time horse trainer. She’s worked with horses before she was twelve years old.
Clarissa’s specialty is working with kids 18 and under and working with families who want to improve their interactions. This includes offering parenting classes.
When possible, Clarissa combines counseling and horses through a craft known as equine therapy.
“Most kids don’t want to stare at someone in an office,” Clarissa states. “But put them in a stable and around animals and they open up. It’s especially useful for kids with ADHD. They learn to focus and manage their symptoms.”
Clarissa enjoys working with First Alarm Wellness because Tina has been a force in normalizing emergency worker’s experiences and lowering the stigma around the necessity of processing those experiences.
Clarissa specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), along with Psychodynamic methods to help shape their thinking and emotions to increase their ability to thrive.
Paul Krebs, Ph.D.
Paul Krebs, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist with 15 years experience at the VA in San Diego and in New York City in the trauma and primary care clinics.
He specializes in evidence-based treatments for trauma and depression/anxiety including cognitive processing therapy(CPT), prolonged exposure therapy (PE), eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). These are all tools that help his clients change their relationship with their traumatic experiences so they become memories and lose their power to trigger emotions and defenses.
“I get that opening up about the impact of the events in our lives can be a new experience. I take a very real and honest approach to therapy and strive to create a friendly atmosphere that values a person’s strengths.”
Paul is a proud member of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve where he serves on the Pacific Strike Team responding to environmental incidents. In his free time, Paul enjoys carpentry, camping, and spending time with his dog.
Kim Valle — LLPC & LAADC (CA), LPC (TX)
Kim Valle started out as a substance abuse counselor working with adolescents. It didn’t take long for her to realize that most people with substance abuse issues also are contending with mental health issues.
As a substance use counselor, she couldn’t diagnose or help her clients deal with the underlying mental health challenges, so she went back to school and became a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Kim is a licensed professional counselor (LPCC) and licensed advanced alcohol and drug counselor (LAADC) in California.
She has extensive trauma training, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral health therapy.
She came to First Alarm because so many of our clients are struggling with trauma and substance use issues.
“I don’t beat around the bush. I’m very direct, and that works well with this population.”
Angelica Tesoriero, APCC
Angelica began her career working with the Counseling Service Unit for the New York City Fire Department where she specialized in substance abuse treatment for firefighters and EMTs, including leading group therapy programs for anger management and relapse prevention.
Angelica is certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and works with clients who are dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. She helps our members develop individual plans to promote their mental wellness. “I encourage people to take a proactive approach toward their mental health.”
She also teaches behavioral health classes for the departments that First Alarm Wellness serves throughout California.
Jackie Ketch, Workers Compensation Advocate, COVID Case Manager
Jackie is a key part of our wrap-around concierge approach. We don’t leave our clients hanging.
Before coming to First Alarm Wellness, Jackie brings her vast knowledge of the Workers Compensation Program so that she can help your workers navigate the system. If she doesn’t have the answers, she knows where to find them, and she’ll walk with you through the entire process.
“I love working with First Alarm Wellness because we’re passionate about helping to make things better for people.”
Julie Schrope, Business Manager
Call for backup.
Your number one priority is the safety of your team, during and after each incident.
Find out what we can do for your department to make sure your emergency and disaster workers have the support they need.