By Alyson McCullough
Overview of First Responders:
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a first responder is anyone who is responsible for going immediately to the scene of an accident or emergency to provide assistance. These include the local firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and police officers. These wonderful men and women put in hours of work and have to go through countless classes to become trained to be able to act accordingly in certain situations. Our first responders are some of the bravest people someone could meet because their job is to risk their lives to save another person. They are the people that are going to take care of your loved ones if they have been robbed, in a car accident, or their house caught on fire. These men and women are here to protect and serve our country in our towns and cities while our military is fighting for us overseas.
Merriam-Webster definition: a person who fights fires; fireman or firewoman
70 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers, and 41.8 percent of volunteer firefighters have been volunteers for ten or more years. 7.3 percent of firefighters are women (NFPA: National Fire Protection Association).
There are 58,750 fire stations across the United States (NFPA).
Firefighters have to go through countless hours of different training classes before they can legally go into a burning building or be truly productive on any scene.
Over forty-five percent of firefighters that die while on duty die of heart related issues (Skysaver).
Merriam-Webster definition: a member of a police force
According to USA Today, there were 144 police officer deaths in 2018. 52 were firearm related, 50 were traffic related, and 42 were related to something else. These fatalities led to the Stand Behind the Blue campaigns with the thin blue line trend.
Not all police officers are horrible people. They are just like anyone else, there are good ones and bad ones. Just because one encounters a poorly behaved officer does not mean they are all terrible humans. This also applies to the claim that police officers are racist.
Police officers can also be volunteers, but they are not heard of as much as the others.
Twelve percent of law enforcement officers in the United States are women (Fact Retriever).
EMS (Emergency Medical Services)
Merriam-Webster definition: a specially trained medical technician certified to provide basic emergency services before and during transportation to a hospital.
About 5 percent of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are also volunteers and 70 percent of EMTs are male (Premier Health).
EMTs have a dark sense of humor because they have to get through all of the horrific things they have seen somehow. They will make jokes that seem like an awful thing to say but they do not mean any harm by it. They use it as a protection mechanism to get through the stresses of their jobs. They also struggle with leaving work at work. They take it home with them because they can not help but remember everything they have witnessed (Perfect Imprints).
EMS training never really has an end to it. They are constantly encountering new circumstances, new medicine, and better ways to approach certain situations. These all play into the training that EMTs have to undergo to be able to be active on the scene (Premier Health).
The number of emergency medical technicians have declined since September 11, 2001 (Premier Health).
Overall Take Away:
These fearless men and women deserve all of the love and appreciation in the world. It is always a wonderful feeling for these amazing people when someone acknowledges their hard work. When someone shows their appreciation, it keeps them going and wanting to continue working for the people they care about. When someone criticizes them, it makes them not want to do what they love because most of them would not want to deal with all of the drama that would come along with it. There are always going to be ones that make others look bad, giving people the wrong impression, but they are all still very important to our society. Without them, we would not have professionals that their job is literally to respond to your emergencies. They are doctors that can be there within minutes of a call and they are trained men and women that know how to protect people and their families from other people, like police officers, or from fires, like firefighters. Take care of the first responders in the local community and let them know how important they are to the world.