A career as a first responder or caregiver can take a serious emotional toll over time. Amy Morgan, a mental health professional and director of the Certified First Responder Counselor program, explores the mental and emotional impact of service careers — including ways to manage anxiety and stress, and striving for a healthy work-life balance.
Before 9/11, the term, “first responder,” was not widely used, if at all. The term came into common usage in the wake of that horrific day in 2001 to describe the thousands of public health and safety personnel — firefighters, police, EMTs, and others — who responded to the scene of the terrorist attacks, particularly the devastation of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York. While some object to the overuse of the “first responder” term by the media, saying it is more accurate to specify exactly which agencies responded to an incident, the term has continued to be important in addressing the long-term effects of the terrorist attacks on the emergency personnel who were present at Ground Zero.
With an abundance of jobs and an increasingly optimistic outlook, the EMS industry’s growth shows no signs of slowing. In fact, most projections have this growth continuing into the mid-2020s. As the industry grapples with the ups and downs of protracted growth, cloud-based training management tools will prove an increasingly useful ally for the growing size and complexity of your organization.
Envisage Technologies is pleased to announce its acquisition of the California-based company, VaultRMS, and the addition of the Exposure Tracker™ product to Envisage’s growing list of technology solutions built specifically for our nation’s first responders. The addition of Exposure Tracker will further Envisage’s founding vision of improving the readiness and safety of our nation’s first responder communities.
In many ways, our nation is still recovering from the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001. For first responders who worked the scene, that means struggling both with debilitating physical ailments as well as political threats to take funding for treatment away.
First responders have jobs unlike any other, facing unique challenges both on- and off-duty. For many, this can result in traumatic stress and depression, but there are strategies at both the individual and organizational levels that can help to combat these issues.
Active Listening, Other Communications Skills May Help Responders Deal with “Difficult” Members of the Public
Law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medicine, and corrections are fields often marked by interactions with “difficult” people. Whether their bad behaviors come as the result of a personality disorder or simply a bad day, communications techniques like active listening and de-escalation may be what responders need to provide adequate service — and avoid unpleasant outcomes, such as unnecessary use of force.
The positive outcomes of decades-long programs to train inmates in fire and EMS suggest education can be an effective method of significantly reducing recidivism.
Police have long struggled with effective ways to tailor standard training, skills, and protocol to mental health situations. And though no one individual solution for such a varied problem exists, specialized training—applied, at times, with alterations to department culture—is one way to ensure public safety officers are more prepared to respond to incidents in which mental health plays a role.
First Responders, as a group, have a unique relationship with technology. The ability to apply technology to fitness, training activities, and established procedures in the first responder field allows for the integration of many technological developments into every day practices. Much of the current excitement around wearable technology in fields like firefighting, emergency medical services, and law enforcement draws from this patience and past success. With enough time to iron out the technical, financial, and bureaucratic details surrounding them, off-the-shelf wearable gadgets and purpose-built tools—along with the software that runs on them—have a chance to realize their full potential.