The job of a firefighter or other first responder has never been an easy one. However, it seems that over the last several years, these essential professionals continue to face an increasing number of exceptionally challenging and traumatic events – often one after the other with little to no respite between them. The physical, mental and emotional toll that things like mass shootings, massive wildfires and more take on the people who must help others at this time can add up fast.
Physical health risks for firefighters
The California Professional Firefighters indicate that several serious physical health conditions may be associated with being a firefighter. These include certain cancers, hernias, heart problems, pneumonia, tuberculosis and staph infections.
Mental health risks for firefighters
In recent years, more first responders are dying from suicide that other job-related factors according to The Sacramento Bee. This reality may well have contributed to the passing of some new laws in the autumn of 2019. It was then that the Governor signed legislation enabling firefighters and other first responders to have the ability to file for workers’ compensation benefits due to post traumatic stress disorder connected with their jobs.
Per the provisions of the bills signed by the Governor, these essential workers may be eligible for paid time off due to their mental occupational injury. They may also have access to peer support programs and other treatment to help them work through the trauma they have experienced in the line of duty. The passage of these bills is a critical step in supporting the very people who support so many other in critical times.