Firefighter/Paramedic — A Most Stressful Job

A recent study released by the website Careercast.com (http://www.careercast.com/jobs/content/ten-most-stressful-jobs-2010-jobs-rated-0) ranked firefighting as the most stressful job in America out of 200 different occupations. How did they come up...


A recent study released by the website Careercast.com (http://www.careercast.com/jobs/content/ten-most-stressful-jobs-2010-jobs-rated-0) ranked firefighting as the most stressful job in America out of 200 different occupations. How did they come up with this conclusion? First, they examined...


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There are the constant stresses of continual training — not only as a firefighter, but as a paramedic. Many states require a certain amount of training and/or exams every so many years in order to maintain your license. If you do not maintain your license, you lose your job. I know some firefighter/paramedics complain when they go on a call that they do not think it is an emergency. Some even consider this a stress. On the other hand, I feel firefighter/paramedics should welcome these calls since they are less stressful and provide an opportunity to decompress a bit.

These situations and many more are what I consider to be the true stress factors of our profession. But do not get me wrong; I love my job and have loved it for 30-plus years. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many other stressful jobs and probably some that may even be more stressful than that of a firefighter/paramedic. But I feel it is safe to say that firefighter/paramedics have a very stressful job — a job I am proud to say I have made my career.

GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 32 years of fire-rescue service experience. Ludwig is chairman of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master's degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally, and can be reached through his website at www.garyludwig.com.