Firefighters should watch for stress symptoms

Firefighters should watch for stress symptoms

Firefighters should watch for stress symptoms

Individuals who wish to complete firefighter basic training and become professional rescue workers understand that this line of work comes with many challenges. As firefighters put their lives on the line every time they strap on a helmet, it should come as no surprise that this occupation has the potential to be incredibly stressful.

One of 2013’s most stressful jobs
Recently, job website CareerCast identified what it believes to be the 10 most stressful professions of 2013. In the third-place spot, just behind enlisted military personnel and military general was firefighter. Overall, this occupation had astress score of 60.45, which was based on multiple factors, including the role’s competitiveness, hazards encountered, amount of required travel and physical demands.

Why is firefighting so stressful?
According to CareerCast, the risks associated with rushing into burning buildings and dropping into forest fires are not the only reasons why firefighting is so stressful. There is also the fact that professionals in this line of work have a responsibility to protect people and property – not to mention themselves and their fellow firefighters.

A report from the U.S. Fire Administration and the International Association of Fire Fighters explained that despite advancements in the fire service industry, rescue workers are still losing their lives or becoming injured on the job.

The effects of stress
If individuals complete firefighter training and are unsure as to whether or not the stress of the job is taking a toll on them, they may want to figure out if they are showing the symptoms of this negative reaction to life’s demands. According to the Mayo Clinic, headaches, fatigue and sleep problems are all symptoms of stress. At the same time, it is not uncommon for individuals to feel restless, irritableor depressed, or become socially withdrawn.

Finding ways to cope with stress
A decade ago, firefighters and other first responders may not have acknowledged the stress they were feeling, Robert Czerwinski, fire chief for Massachusetts’ Pittsfield Fire Department, told The Berkshire Eagle. Today, however, individuals who hold these occupations are being taught to recognize their stress.

“Our heartbeat goes flying high and there are stressors building up in the body and the adrenaline is rushing while you’re driving to the scene,” Czerwinski said.

In Pittsfield, firefighters have an opportunity to meet with counselors through an employee assistance program, so that stress does not get the best of them.

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