Planning to become a firefighter? Be prepared for the full impact

While most people in Nebraska will run away from danger, you might be one of those who runs toward it. If you are a firefighter, yours is a noble profession that does not only take you into burning buildings but also makes you one of the first responders on scenes of accidents and disasters.

Firefighting is a dangerous and demanding job that will have you work at natural disasters, explosions, traffic accidents, wildfires and other catastrophic scenes. The fact that you cannot think twice before rushing into a raging fire in a building that might collapse at any time will take a mental and physical toll on you.

Personal challenges faced by firefighters

Although firefighters learn about potential hazards of the job during training, the full impact only becomes evident with experience. You might want to take note of the following challenges you will face on the job:

  • Work-life balance: Creating a balance between home and work life is one of the many difficulties firefighters face. Long hours at work can cause familial strain and disconnection or discontent, which is exacerbated at times of deployment to fight wildfires or assist with rescue and cleanup in disaster zones.
  • Mental distress and anguish: Being one of the first responders to scenes that might involve many victims, all needing urgent attention or evacuation from dangerous zones, might force you to choose whom to save. You will often make life-and-death decisions in split seconds, many of which may come back to haunt you.
  • Physical hazards: You will face numerous physical threats, some of which might only become evident years later. The risks include burns, heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation and crush injuries from collapsing buildings.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Frequently witnessed traumatic events can leave indelible marks on the psyche of firefighters. If you develop PTSD, you could experience anxiety, poor sleep patterns and depression due to constant flashbacks and nightmares.

Help is available

You may find some level of comfort in the fact that the Nebraska workers' compensation program will cover any medical expenses resulting from occupational injuries or diseases you might suffer along with a percentage of lost wages. These can include persistent coughing, occupational asthma, lung damage, cancer, heart disease and more. Proving an injury or illness to be job-related could be challenging, but legal resources are available to provide the necessary support and guidance. An experienced workers' compensation attorney's assistance might lead to maximum benefits.

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