Firefighters are our first line of defence in emergency situations involving fires and many other situations. They protect people, their property and the environment from all types of accidents and emergencies. During the course of this work, firemen are often exposed to traumatic experiences. It is important for their mental health that this trauma is dealt with properly, and it is for this reason that counselling for firemen is of great importance.
Daily duties of firemen
Not only do firemen help us in emergency situations, but they also promote fire safety and often work very closely with the community in order to do so. Training exercises such as practice drills are as much a part of the job as lectures and exercises.
Typical daily tasks for a firefighter include the following:
- Immediate response to emergency calls and requests for help;
- Attending to emergency situations such as fires, road traffic accidents, spillages of dangerous chemicals, floods, and air and rail crashes;
- Rescuing trapped people and animals;
- Administering first aid while waiting for an ambulance to arrive;
- Preserving other people’s safety in emergency situations;
- Quickly responding to unforeseen situations as they occur; and
- Fire investigation and cleanup of a site after an incident.
The vast majority of these tasks fall into the high-stress category. Regular counselling for firemen goes a long way to maintaining the mental health of these everyday heroes.
Stress-related illnesses in the fire service which may require counselling for firemen
When someone experiences a severe trauma, they are often left with a psychological disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder. As our lives become more stressful, this disorder is also becoming more apparent. A survey of the general population in the United Kingdom found that three in every 100 adults screened positive for symptoms of PTSD.
Firemen see and experience far more traumatic things on a daily basis than most of the general population experiences in a lifetime, so it comes as no surprise that one in every five firefighters is believed to develop PTSD. Counselling can prevent the onset of PTSD as well as treating the disorder if it is already present.
Previous mental illness can lead to a greater risk of developing PTSD, but conversely, PTSD can also lead to developing other mental disorders. Depression and anxiety will often accompany this type of disorder as well.
Making a claim for stress-related illness as a fireman
Working in the fire services carries many risks that other jobs do not. This does not mean that you are not entitled to make a compensation claim if you have suffered an illness or injury as a result of your work. To find out more about this, call us here at Accident Advice Helpline. We have a free legal helpline that is available 24 hours a day.
Call us on 0800 689 0500 from a landline or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile. One of our legal advisors will discuss the details of your case with you and then give you an honest assessment of whether you are likely to make a successful compensation claim.
Date Published: January 4, 2014
Author: David Brown