HCI College continues to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more

The Realities of Becoming a First Responder

First responders are one of the first people on the scene of an emergency—and it’s challenging. Your skills as a first responder can spell the difference between an emergency and a tragedy, and saving lives. A career as a first responder undoubtedly makes a massive impact in the community. While this career is rewarding, it’s important to be aware of the realities in order to be fully prepared to take on the challenges of being a first responder. Here are some worth taking note of:

Training to be a Paramedic is Tougher than You Might Anticipate

To be a paramedic, you first have to complete EMT training. That entails taking a four-month program that most assume is simple and straightforward. It’s actually a challenging course that prepares you for the rigors of being a first responder. Once you obtain your certification, an additional 12 to 15 months of training is required that covers practical knowledge, classroom instruction, and clinicals. While it may not seem like much, in the midst of training you will realize just how much time and effort needs to be invested. After all, paramedics are trained to save lives amid the toughest of circumstances—that takes intense training.

Still, most aspiring first responders recognize the importance of what they do and why they have to undergo such rigorous training. The time and effort invested in your studies will ultimately pay off when you’re in the field saving lives using the valuable skills you learned.

Learning is Constant in this Field

Even after training to become a first responder is completed and you’ve obtained certification, your learning continues. Paramedics are required to recertify every couple of years. This involves 70 hours of additional re-certification training on top of the need to keep up with the trends and advances of a constantly evolving industry.

There are Physical Risks to Being a First Responder

While the physical and mental health risks of being a first responder might seem obvious, many people don’t think beyond that. The risks vary depending on the need or the nature of the emergency and first responders must perform their jobs well when facing danger on a daily basis.

Although paramedics are trained to deliver emergency services efficiently and safely, they are not immune to accidents or injuries. They must remain vigilant while maintaining their health and fitness to ensure they are mentally and physically able to keep up with the demands of the job.

Exposure to Emotional Trauma Can Be Intense

A first responder’s job will inevitably be physically and emotionally draining. They are exposed to injuries, illness, and even death on a near-constant basis. Even the most emotionally well-adjusted individual will experience the emotional pressures of this job and the toll it takes.

Fortunately, being in the healthcare industry means most first responders are given access to counseling programs and emotional support when they need it. Remember, as a first responder, your ability to take care of others depends on taking care of yourself. If you’re starting to feel the emotional pressures of the job, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Building a Network is Essential

As a first responder, you will encounter people from all walks of life. It entails working with a lot of other first responders across different fields, such as police officers and firefighters. First responders work closely with doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators. There are numerous opportunities to build community connections as a first responder, and nurturing them as you build your career is important.

The ability to build valuable connections allows you to open lines of communication that can help you see different problem-solving approaches.

The Bottom Line

It’s all going to be worth it.

No matter how tough training gets, how challenging the emergency situations you find yourself in seem, first responders remain highly satisfied with the work they do. They make a real difference in people’s lives, their community, and can provide life-changing service for the people they help. A career as a first responder also makes a big and positive impact on those they work with.

If you’re interested in starting your career as a first responder, where your training begins matters. Check out our program offerings today.