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Old 02-18-2011, 02:15 PM
Written By: Dr LeCrone
Default Let Us Be Thankful For Some of The Real Heroes in Our Community

The services provided by the fire department, police department and emergency medical service are sometimes overlooked or taken for granted by residents of a community.

We tend to forget about the security and emergency service they provide on an ongoing basis. These very dedicated men and women protect our lives and property 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

Physical and psychological stress often accompanies the service provided by these professionals. Letís examine a few of the psychological stressors:

Part of their work includes dealing with life and death scenarios. It can involve helping people resolve complicated, emotionally charged and threatening situations.

They must stay alert during long periods of boredom and must perform their duties while exhausted and fatigued from lack of sleep. Shift work can further complicate the picture because many of these service providers must modify their sleep-awake cycles to meet the need of around-the-clock coverage.

While fighting a fire, rescuing someone from an automobile accident, trying to apprehend an armed suspect or dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters, first responders experience the fight-or-flight response.

This response produces stress hormones that result in elevated heart rate, blood pressure, respiration and emotional reactivity.

This reaction often occurs for prolonged periods of time and can result in emotional and physical difficulties.

Stress such as loud noise, pressure to produce a product, or relationship and communication problems is present in many work environments. But first responders are exposed to additional stressors such as trauma, injury or death, and a potential threat to their own lives.

Another source of stress is being away from home and on duty at night, weekends or for several days at a time.

Shift work and absence from family routines may multiply the stress that these people are under.

Finally, the pay, benefits and recognition of emergency, personnel, firemen and policemen are often too low and workloads are too high.

Let us all be thankful for the security, safety and tremendous service that we receive each day from these real heroes in our community.

Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2011.

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