First responders are the unsung heroes who put their lives on the line every day to save others. They rush into burning buildings, respond to emergencies and provide critical medical attention to those in need.
While their bravery and dedication are commendable, it is important to recognize the danger that first responders put themselves in. The physical and emotional strain of their jobs can take a significant toll on them.
Emergency medical service injuries
Emergency medical service personnel are often the first to respond to medical emergencies, providing critical care to patients before they reach the hospital. EMS personnel often have to lift and move heavy equipment, stretchers and patients, leading to musculoskeletal disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sprains and strains are the most common injuries for EMS personnel.
Firefighters are responsible for responding to fires, performing rescues and providing medical care. Thermal burns are very common, which occur when firefighters come across high temperatures or flames. Additionally, firefighters may experience smoke inhalation, physical trauma and overexertion from performing strenuous tasks.
Law enforcement injuries
The Federal Bureau of Investigations reported that in 2020, there were 60,105 cases of someone assaulting a law enforcement officer. These assaults often involve weapons such as firearms and knives. On top of this, officers often have to chase suspects on foot or engage in physical altercations, leading to sprains, strains and fractures.
To prevent injuries, departments should provide proper training and equipment. There should also be policies and procedures that address the risks involved. With the right system in place, first responders can safely handle their jobs’ demands.