Five Qualities All Emergency Responders Should Have

Being an emergency responder is a mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding career. The long hours and potentially dangerous situations emergency responders face each day can take a toll on even the most resilient people. The life of an emergency responder is often a controlled chaos that requires a specific type of person to roll with the punches. If you are considering pursuing a career as an emergency responder, EMT, paramedic, or firefighter, here are five qualities that can help you along the way. 

Composure in Emergency Situations 

Perhaps the most obvious quality one needs to be an emergency responder is the ability to stay calm in an emergency situation. Because you cannot predict what kind of situations you respond to on a day to day basis, you have to be able to stay focused on performing your job to the best of your ability. Your ability to do so could be the difference between life or death for someone.  

Maintaining your composure while on duty means being able to provide life-saving care in dire situations. While firefighters and police officers focus on controlling and suppressing an emergency situation, emergency responders must be prepared to provide medical support as needed. This includes treating the critically injured or ill until they can be transported to definitive care at a hospital or trauma center. Your primary objective is stabilization until more advanced care can be performed.  

Adaptability 

While training for emergency responders is extensive and continuous, there’s no way to prepare for all eventualities. Being able to adapt and change your approach as necessary is vital. This goes hand-in-hand with the next trait all emergency responders should have: the ability to think critically. 

Critical Thinking 

Critical thinking in emergency situations means applying your extensive training to real world scenarios.  

Being able to adapt to changing situations requires one to think on your feet, using your knowledge to develop a plan as you go. Assessing things quickly and determine your best course of action is crucial to saving lives.  

Communication Skills 

Emergency responders work as a team, and your ability to communicate effectively directly impacts the team’s competence. Despite what Hollywood portrays, trying to be the hero can make a bad situation much worse. Instead, you need to be able to deliver important information quickly and clearly to the rest of your team, allowing them to do their jobs properly. This teamwork not only helps to save lives, but is necessary for the safety of everyone involved. 

Effective communication skills also include the ability to receive and comprehend information, including orders. An active scene is not the time for ego or debate. In the rare occurrence that a better course of action is available, communicate that alternative. Making that decision on your own leaves your team caught off guard and out of the loop. 

A Strong Stomach 

It should go without saying, but being an emergency responder will expose you to sights and smells you likely would not experience otherwise. There is no way to fully prepare for your first experience with a difficult scene. However, having a strong constitution can help you stay focused on performing your job to the best of your ability. If you are easily made sick by the sight of blood, vomit, or gore, coping with the job may be more difficult for you.  

If you are driven by an earnest desire to help those in need, and you possess the above qualities, Performance Training Systems can help you get your dream career. With EMS exam preparation services and online learning tools available, we are dedicated to helping emergency responders across the country fulfill their full potential.  

For more information about our prep services, including EMS and firefighter exam preparation, contact us today! 

Five Realities of Being an Emergency Responder

Hollywood’s portrayal of emergency responders has skewed the public’s perspective of what it means to be in emergency medical services. While these shows and movies help to inspire people to pursue a career in public service, they don’t provide a realistic idea of the commitment EMS work requires. Breaking through these misconceptions and understanding what it means to be an emergency responder is important to preparing aspiring EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters for the job ahead. If you are considering one of these careers, here are five realities of being an emergency responder. 

Physical Demand 

Emergency medical services requires dedication to your physical health and strength. Because emergency responders carry heavy equipment and may need to carry the weight of another person, being physically fit is a priority. EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters are constantly exercising to maintain their strength and stamina for when the job calls for these skills. Being able to climb multiple flights of stairs, control an active fire hose, or load an ambulance means you can’t afford to slack off on your fitness. Lacking physical fitness can lead to injury for yourself, your squadron, or civilians. 

Moreover, working as an emergency responder means you may be called for duty at any time of the day or night. If extra hands are needed, you are the first one on call and you must be prepared to respond immediately. At times, this may mean you are on a scene for hours on end working through the stress and exhaustion.  

Mental Demand 

Being responsible for other people’s lives is no small matter. Even when you prepare as best you can, there will always be a situation in which you are unable to save or protect someone. The mental toll of such a job can quickly and easily take over. Suicide and mental health issues like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are common in this career field because of this weight. Often the guilt or the feeling of having to grin and bear it only contribute to the problem.  

If you are a first responder or considering becoming one, remember: the lesson here isn’t about how strong you have to be mentally, but rather knowing it’s okay if you need to reach out for help. Support and help are out there for people living with the unique stresses and mental health issues associated with this line of work. 

Social Sacrifices 

This is not a 9 to 5 career that lets you just clock out at the end of the day. The shifts are longer and include weekends and all holidays. Committing to the life of an emergency responder means having to accept you will probably miss out on important events and milestones. This may mean missing out on Thanksgiving dinner or having to skip your best friend’s bachelorette party. For those with children, it also means time away from home and your family. 

While you do have a break between shifts, it is likely a fair bit of that time will be spent sleeping and resting. At times, it may even feel like you’re watching others’ lives unfold through social media rather than participating yourself. Friendships and relationships with those who don’t understand your career may suffer. This is why the camaraderie among squads is so important; these people will become your second family. 

Family Impact 

Unlike becoming a travel agent or architect, the emergency medical services career path carries a significantly higher risk for injury. This is not a job that only affects you; understanding that when you make the choice to start training for your career is important. There are hard but necessary conversations that need to be had concerning your wishes should the worst come to pass.   

The Reward 

Though your family and friends may worry every time there is an emergency situation, the sense of pride that comes with knowing you are actively making a difference is phenomenal. Doing what is right and necessary in times of crisis keeps your community safe for your family and friends. Additionally, the bonds you make with fellow emergency responders runs deep and is lifelong. Even when it seems like a thankless job, knowing your life is dedicated to serving those in need makes the long hours and hard days worth it. 

If you’re ready to start the journey toward being an emergency responder, contact Performance Training Systems today. Our comprehensive EMS exam preparation services ensure you are fully prepared for the test and the real world.