We, and our children, often view first responders as heroes with superpowers that make them invincible, but they are hardworking everyday people just like us. Just how hard do our first responders work?
Many first responders have physically and emotionally demanding jobs. Their jobs involve heavy lifting, high cardio, high pressure situations, and firsthand witness to trauma and highly emotional situations. These factors put our first responders at high risk of injury and illness. I’ve had some experience with firefighters, so I’ll focus in on their demands here.
Besides carrying the weight of our safety on their shoulders, firefighting gear adds “loads” of weight! Firefighters’ turnout gear and SCBA can weigh 60 pounds. Combine those loads with the weight carried during patient transfers and hose packs, and that’s quite the burden.
It goes without saying that our first responders don’t often have the luxury of time when responding to emergency situations, so moving quickly is a priority. Firefighters have to be in peak physical condition to be able to run through emergency situations efficiently. Firefighters typically work at 85 to 100% of their maximum capacity, and often have to sustain that that level of exertion for bouts of time.
Ergonomists use a variety of tools to assess the occupational demands of first responders. Results show that first responders are indeed working hard to keep us safe. From us at Taylor’d Ergo, thank you to all first responders, for keeping us safe!