The job of a rescue worker is often a stressful one but can also be a source of great personal fulfillment and rewards when situations result in a positive outcome. However, many rescue workers encounter tragedies that average citizens could not even fathom and as a result, psychological issues can be of great concern.
Rescue workers are trained and licensed to assist people during auto accidents, fires, medical emergencies, and disasters on a larger scale. The work in conjunction with law enforcement and are often the first to arrive on a scene to administer medical assistance and rescue victims involved. They provide emergency first aid and in more serious situations will stabilize a patient until they can be transported to a medical facility. In addition to providing the physical help necessary in a tragedy, they must also have the talent to comfort victims and provide reassurance throughout the situation.
Rescue workers and first responders often work in dangerous situations. They are at risk when on the scene during the most chaotic time, often facing moving traffic, unstable buildings, intense fires, and the possibility of biohazards treating the public. Many rescue workers are exposed to serious medical hazards that can negatively affect their own health.
Because of the nature of a rescue worker’s job, many are also at risk for mental health conditions resulting from the stress and anxiety involved in witnessing horrible situations. Many suffer long-term issues including nightmares, insomnia, and anxiety after being involved in serious events. Rescue workers are also at risk of suffering serious bouts of guilt and helplessness when the situation does not end positively.
Many rescue workers are volunteers and continue to offer their time and skills because they have a passion for their work. There are some paid positions for emergency workers but wages are typically low and not in line with the risks faced by the workers. Rescue workers may also be involved with law enforcement, working in healthcare, or working with their local fire department.