By Joseph Hunter, M.A., First Responder Wellness Program
The daily stress and constant exposure to life threatening situations that first responders encounter can lead to burnout. They also have to face the physical strain of working long hours and getting very little sleep. In addition to burnout, handling the pressures of the job can eventually lead to drug and alcohol use.
Burnout is a feeling of extreme exhaustion and being completely overwhelmed. Due to their exposure to distressing situations, first responders have a higher level of burnout and fatigue. Plus, those who work at disaster scenes can encounter a secondary traumatic process, which leads to flashbacks and PTSD.