Research Paper: Demands That Emergency Workers

Pages: 8 (2651 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Floren (1984, p.43) suggests that there is a "strong need to provide a more humanistic approach in the training of emergency [service] personnel." Also, "we need to learn more about death and dying, the stages of grief, what to expect from a suddenly bereaved family and how we may most helpfully interact with family members." (Floren. 1984)

Also we need to educate and encourage emergency workers so that they can talk about the pressures they face in a stress full situation, so that they understand that they are not alone in their experiences and by sharing one's own experience they lean to understand and del with their problems. Floren continues, "Our training should emphasize the need for supportiveness and free expression of feelings" in stressful situations to help prevent serious problems. We need to be prepared for the internal conflicts that may surround a patient's death and know how our self-image may seem threatened by that event." (Floren. 1984)

If emergency working departments like fire departments and EMS organizations, are expected to help reduce the number of lives lost everyday due to physical illness, substance abuse, suicide, fire and criminal activity, then educating them and providing them with coping skills is the necessity of the hour. Training them to deal with traumatic and stress full situations is more important now than training to be good at what they do. Job induced stress disorders can no longer be "an expected reaction," it should be responsibility of every supervisor to make sure that the emotional wellness of his/her department. Without the help of community and society, stress and trauma can very easily take toll on emergency workers and not just them, but their families as well (Ursano & McCarroll. 1994)

Recommendations for Coping with Stress and Trauma:

We need to understand that emergency workers need to maintain and look after their health so that they can maintain the vigilance and alertness that is required of them. Workers are required to stay focused in their jobs that are dynamic and all the time changing. Workers need to recognize that they need to take care of themselves especially emotional self, this is particularly important if the recovery requires them to put in efforts for several weeks. The following suggestions for emergency workers so that alongside with external help, these workers can help themselves to stay alert and maintain themselves so that a minor incident does not affect then too hard (Markey. 1998)..

Control the organization and pace of the rescue and recovery efforts:

Considering that emergency workers work as team, then during off hours they need to watch out for their co-workers as well. Workers should observe their fellow co-workers for signs of stress or fatigue and help them through with it, if the situation is too big or out of control to handle on their own then they should report to their supervisors.

Frequent breaks should be taken. Rescue operations often happen in the most dangerous and challenging situations. Hence metal fatigue is a given especially for workers who work long hours or night shifts, which can risk to physical burnout..

Monitor mental/emotional health:

Workers need to recognize what is done and there are certain things they cannot change, which includes the chain of command, organizational structure, waiting and equipment failures.

Talking to co-workers always helps, but it should be done so when one feels like it not if they are pressured, one should choose their own comfort level. At the end of the day talking is always relieving.

Every organization provides its workers with a formal health report to evaluate their mental and physical conditions; it is always wise to use them.

One has to realize that they cannot help everyone and change everything, so if an operations goes wrong its okay to feel bad about it.

Recurring thoughts, dreams, or flashbacks are normal they are a result of a recent trauma, one shouldn't try to fight them they decrease once the memory of the event starts to fade the mind

Communicate with your loved ones at home as frequently as possible (Markey. 1998).


The emotional stability of emergency workers is at risk. They are suffering from problems like stress and grief which are not easily detected and cured. If these ailments are not found at the right time, they can cause physical problems too. Due to the nature of emergency workers work, the stress and trauma they are put through is causing them severe depression, heart attacks, and the high rates of divorce, addiction, and suicide in the fire and EMS services proves this. Hence every effort must be made to save not only the lives of emergency service workers, but their emotional health as well.


Jensen, SB (1999) Taking care of the care takers under war conditions, who cares? European University Centre for Mental Health and Human Rights.

Kahill, S (1988) 'Interventions for burnout in the helping professions: a review of the empirical evidence' in Canadian Journal of Counseling Review 22 (3):310342. Journal of Counseling Review 22 (3):310342.

Markey, K (1998) 'Reports on risks to health and safety identified by Concern Worldwide's international personnel ', Concern.

McCall, M & Salama, P (1999) 'Selection, training and support of relief workers: an occupational health issue ' in British Medical Journal 318:1136.

Smith, B, Agger, I, Danieli, Y & Weisaeth, L (1996) 'Health activities across populations? emotional responses of international aid workers ' in Danieli, Y et al. (eds) International Responses to Traumatic Stress (Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing).

Ursano, RJ & McCarroll (1994) 'Exposure to traumatic death: the nature of stressor in individual and community response to trauma and disaster ' in Ursano et al. (eds) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Floren, T. (1984, March/April). Impact of death and dying on emergency care personnel. Emergency Medical Services, 13 (2), pp.43-47.

Martin, S. (June, 1981). Stress and the fire service. The Minnesota Fire Chief,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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