If you are a paramedic in Nebraska, many people might see you as a superhero who save lives every day. However, few know what it requires to be a real-life superhero who goes to work each day and faces a variety of safety hazards. Along with the satisfaction of saving lives, you deal with the stress of having to make critical life-or-death decisions in split seconds with only limited information.
Never knowing what the next call will present only adds to the stress of your job, and the best you can do is to learn about the safety risks you will face and mitigate them as best you can. Will your next call be an indoor or outdoor emergency, and will you have to deal with hazardous chemicals, bodily fluids and blood, or psychological stresses?
Some of the hazards paramedics face
Beware of the following dangerous conditions that will form part of your quest to save lives:
- Blood-Borne Pathogens: Exposure to blood is not at all unusual when you deal with trauma victims and use sharp object like surgical instruments and needles. Dangerous blood-borne pathogens can cause infections like HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and more, and if you are caught unawares and unable to don a protective mask and goggles you could get splashed with dangerous bodily fluids and blood.
- Assaults: Learning self-defense is critical because of the prevalence of intoxicated or aggressive patients or bystanders, street gangs and even anti-government extremists. You might be the victim of violent acts or nonfatal assaults.
- Hearing loss: Your life may depend on your hearing when you have to identify warning sounds like walls or roofs threatening to collapse or cries for help. Frequent exposure to the sounds of engines, air horns, sirens and the noise of the tools used for extrication of injured victims, forced entry and other purposes can eventually cause hearing loss.
- Musculoskeletal disorder: Constant kneeling, bending and stretching, along with the lifting of patients, can cause sprains, strains, torn muscles and more. Back injuries are one of the most common injuries in your profession.
- Emotional stress and mental trauma: The constant exposure to life-and-death situations and the need to make critical split-second decisions cause high levels of stress, exacerbated by shift work and poor sleep patterns. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common among paramedics, and seeking help is crucial.
Fortunately, safety authorities recognize the risks paramedics face as well as the physical and psychological damage the hazards cause. If you are injured, the workers’ compensation insurance program of Nebraska will cover your medical expenses and lost wages, and you are free to utilize the services of an experienced attorney to navigate the benefits claim on your behalf.