Paper on Stress Management

This essay has a total of 1616 words and 8 pages.

Stress Management

Description: ems training
In a perfect world, violence, plane crashes floods and other disasters would not occur.
Disease and illness would be non-existent. Emergency medical services would not have a
basis for fruition. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect place. EMT's and other EMS
workers are vital to all societies globally. According to the American College of
Emergency Physicians, the definition of an emergency services is, " Emergency services are
those health care services provided to evaluate and treat medical conditions of recent
onset and severity that would lead a prudent layperson, possessing an average knowledge of
medicine and health, to believe that urgent and/ or unscheduled medical care is required."
The following pages will illustrate the struggles of an emergency medical technician and
other emergency medical service workers.

Deciding to become apart of an EMS workforce is a life changing decision. One must take
into consideration many factors that may hamper one's effort to perform the job correctly.
Violence against emergency workers continues to emerge (Anderson 1991). In recent years,
EMT's and EMS workers have become targets in urban areas. EMS workers enter urban war
zones daily and face many man made dangers.

One peril an EMT may face is the continuing growth of gangs. Gangs have branched out from
big cities into smaller towns (Staten 1991). Frequently, EMS

responders are attacked without provocation. In most cases, the EMS workers are responding
to a call when they are ambushed by a variety of things. It has been documented by the
Emergency Net New Service that fire bombings on EMS workers and their vehicles have
increased in at least ten major U.S. cities (Staten 1995).

In addition, EMT's and EMS workers are faced with the dangers of driving into already
volatile situations. For example, after the Rodney King verdict, cities such as Los
Angeles, California and Atlanta Georgia erupted into massive riots. EMS responders were
thrust into physical danger. Both cities were set afire and gangs of people rushed to loot
local stores (Feiner 10). EMT's and other EMS personnel put their lives in direct jeopardy
to perform their jobs.

Besides rioting and gang violence, EMS personnel are often faced with other more maniacal
acts of violence, such as domestic terrorism. The most gruesome example of this is the
case of the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The direct targets
for this disaster were the civil servants that worked in the building. EMS workers
suffered emotional trauma from the shear devastation of the building. News reports
depicted the various branches of the EMS workforce as relentless in their search for
survivors. EMS responders appeared to be exhausted, but yet somehow were able to continue
their tasks in victim recovery.

Lastly, the weather conditions or the climate the rescue is being performed can be a
natural danger to EMS personnel. For example, one can evaluate the recovery effort by
rescuers of ValueJet Flight 592. The plane crashed into waters of the Florida Everglades.
The crash took place in murky waters and hampered all recovery efforts

(Macko 1996). The search for the plane and the body recovery was difficult due to the
location of the crash. The crash site was inaccessible because it was far from any road

and could only be reached by airboat or helicopter (Macko 1996). Secondly, one can also
evaluate the efforts of the rescuers of the more recent crash of SwissAir flight 111.
Although the response of rescuers here was swift, the darkness and stormy conditions
limited the recovery efforts until daybreak. By early morning, only 18 bodies were
recovered from the 229 passenger's list (ERRI Emergency Services Report 1998).

What can EMS personnel do to protect themselves? The following are some recommendations
made by the Clark State, EMT-P, Assistant Chief Paramedic (retired) for the Chicago Fire
Department. Chief Staten list of "Do's" include:

A) 360 degree view of the scene at all times.
B) Watch your partner's back and have them watch yours.
C) Carry more than one source of artificial light.
D) Cooperate and communicate with the policing officials.
E) In cases of crime, do your best to preserve any potential evidence.
F) Keep accurate records and know your administration's policies.
Chief Staten list of "Don'ts" include:
A) Never extricate a victim from a crowd without the assistance of ample
B) Never stand in front of doors when knocking them down.
C) Never stay in a situation where cannot see impending danger.
D) Only use the maximum amount of force necessary when defending yourself.
E) Don't forget plan ahead-always have a way out.
In addition, Chief Staten suggest during times of social unrest, EMS personnel should
obviously be provided with bulletproof vests.
Besides facing natural and man made emergencies, an EMT's and EMS responders are at the
risk of suffering emotional stress (Schimelpfenig 1991). This stress can be caused by a
number of ways. Initially, an EMT may encounter feelings of the immediate despair and
destruction of the scene. The scene itself may be so gruesome and confusing that the EMT
would go into "auto pilot." Additionally, the surrounding scene may cause a flight or
fight reaction. Avianca flight 52 illustrates just how devastating a disaster can be. One
EMT described how bodies were everywhere. The EMT further described how she came across a
small child covered with blood and screaming. The mother was already dead-"still intact in
her seat almost on top of the child" (Gasparini 69). She further detailed the site was "an
endless line of patients screaming in pain for help." (Gasparini 69). At one point, all
she could do is take a deep breath and go on.
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