For Emergency Services & Disaster Workers
An Ideal Resource For:
- Emergency medical services and first responders such as: paramedics, EMT’s, firefighters, police officers, search & rescue, base station coordinators, street medicine workers, and County disaster response teams.
- Anyone who comes face-to-face with human suffering on a regular basis. This often includes the secretaries, telephone operators, and other support staff who make it possible for first responders to do their work.
- Navy and Marine corpsman, Army medics.
Excerpts from “Oxygen for Caregivers”
“Oxygen for Caregivers is an exceptional program … it gives pragmatic tips on how we can pay attention to early signs of burnout and address them constructively. This program helps us take better care of ourselves and each other, so that we can provide better care for our patients..“
– Jason Prystowsky MD, MPH, FACEP, Emergency Physician, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Medical Director, Santa Barbara City Fire Department
Medical Director, Doctors Without Walls
- More than 40 percent of trauma workers are physically assaulted at work. (Crabbe, Bowley, Boffard, Alexander & Klein 2004)
- 64 percent of first responders experience significant emotional distress because of an incident while on the job. They are likely to be assaulted (almost 70 percent), have their lives put at risk (56 percent), and to witness multiple casualties (40 percent) (Regehr & Bober (2005).
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among EMS personnel ranges from 15 to 20 percent (Northwest Public Health 2006). EMS workers are 2.5 times more likely to die due to transportation-related injuries, cardiovascular incidences, and homicides than the general U.S. population. (Franks, Josher & Chapman, 2004)
- Police officers reporting high stress levels have three times greater health problems, three times greater levels of domestic violence, five times higher rates of alcoholism, and are ten times more likely to suffer from depression than other officers (National Institute of Justice. 1999).
- Sadly, more law enforcement officers kill themselves than are killed by felons or die in an on-duty related accident (Hackett & Violanti, 2003).
These are alarming numbers, all of which indicate that working in emergency services has become more dangerous and costly – physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. And who does it hit hardest? Most studies come to the same conclusion: compassion fatigue affects the most caring and dedicated.
“Such a healing balm you have offered we happy few so blessed to serve, so often wounded on the field. I shall tuck it in my heart and in my go bag.“
– Chaplain Fr. Jon Hedges, COSB Mental Health ACT TeamSanta Barbara Sheriff’s Chaplain