The aftermath of tragedies can bring some of the most grueling and traumatic hours to not just the victims, but also to emergency respondents. After all, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), exempts no one, not even rescuers.
Emergency rescue personnel face a “high risk” of facing PTSD due to the nature of their work. In fact, these modern heroes can experience a broad range of health and mental health consequences as a result of work-related exposures to critical incidents.
A necessary practice in life-saving work is: do first, feel later. When facing calamity, rushing into a hostile environment, or providing treatment to injured victims, there’s barely any room available for having normal human interactions. It’s almost inevitable that at some point, all those experiences will catch up to any rescuer.
Responding to accidents in the workplace
Answering to emergencies can be both rewarding and challenging. While preventing and controlling damages and losses can be a source of fulfillment, witnessing human suffering, being in hostile environments, intense workloads, life-and-death situations, and temporary separation from family can affect any respondent’s emotional and mental stability. For most of us anyway, stress can lead to any of the following:
Rescuers experience stress during a crisis. When too much of that builds up, the negative outlook can cause:
- Burnout – feelings of extreme exhaustion and being overwhelmed.
- Secondary traumatic stress – stress reactions and symptoms resulting from exposure to another individual’s traumatic experiences, rather than from exposure directly to a traumatic event.
Fortunately, overexposure to stress can be adequately addressed through timely reaction and proper implementation of policies. Taking breaks, exercising, eating healthy foods, and using the buddy system, among many others, are some of the ways that can prevent and reduce burnout and secondary traumatic stress syndromes. In addition, recognizing the signs of PTSD among your ranks early on can prevent any particular case from developing into something more serious and damaging.
Training the workforce and preventing emergencies
Employees in the general industry as well as those who are dealing with emergency response and chemical waste cleanup can also be exposed to post-incident stress. Which is why for them, taking an online HAZWOPER course is highly… Click To Tweet
Employees in the general industry as well as those who are dealing with emergency response and chemical waste cleanup can also be exposed to post-incident stress. Which is why for them, taking an online HAZWOPER course is highly recommended. Furthermore, workers who are regularly onsite-but emergency possibilities are low; workers with limited or occasional hazardous waste exposure; and workers who are engaged in operations related to chemical waste cleanup and disposal must take the HAZWOPER training, too.
With this approach, the entire workforce will be more competent in dealing with work-related incidents. The same approach can be done to other industries, which should either prevent accidents from happening or make it easier for all employees to address the dangers associated with their job.
In the wake of a disaster, it is natural to experience a multitude of powerful emotions and thoughts. Amidst these times, don’t forget to connect with family, friends, colleagues, and others that you are most comfortable with. Take care of yourself and know when and how to seek help.