The National Firefighter Protection Association reported in 2021 there were 60,750 on-the-job injuries in the industry. Of those, 32% occurred when firefighters were actively fighting a fire.
This is a good indication that many of the risks for this profession may not be as obvious as people may think.
Many physical hazards
Firefighters have some clear dangers on the job. They confront blazing infernos, run into collapsing buildings and come across hazardous materials on a regular basis. They risk burns, smoke inhalation and trauma while battling flames and rescuing people from danger. Even those who do not go into burning buildings have high risks of strains, sprains, slips and falls due to the nature of the work.
Mental and emotional toll
Public safety employees frequently witness traumatic events, including accidents, violence and natural disasters. The cumulative effect of these experiences can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. The pressure to remain composed and make life-altering decisions in the heat of the moment can take a significant toll on their mental well-being.
Irregular work hours and shift work associated with public safety roles can lead to chronic health issues. Sleep deprivation and disruption of circadian rhythms can result in fatigue and increased risk of accidents, both on and off duty. These professionals are often on call 24/7, which can make it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Firefighters are brave individuals who willingly confront a multitude of risks in the course of their duties. Workers have to be aware of what they face in order to maintain safety on the job.