Signing on to be an emergency responder is no easy task. Besides the obvious emotional strength that needs to come with it, you will be physically and mentally tested every day your step into the field. Living the life of an EMS provider can be a difficult one. Many emergency responders deal with family issues, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, burn out, and more as they try to juggle the mental anguish of the gruesome scenes they are forced to respond to daily. The fact is, some people are just meant for the job. Here’s how you will know if you are one of those people!
  • You have an iron stomach. It is no surprise that emergency responders deal with gruesome and gory scenes as they pull up to car accidents, natural disasters, and even murder scenes each time they sign onto work a shift. Responding to these scenes takes an iron stomach. Emergency responders are forced to jump on the scene, without taking a moment to process what they are seeing, and piece together the parts of a construction worker who lost a limb during a work accident. They see people who are bleeding, broken, and sometimes even dying. In this person’s scariest moment in life, emergency responders are the calm force that gives them hope for survival. If you don’t have an iron stomach, you might as well sign off now!
  • Crazy hours don’t scare you. Emergency responders work long, sometimes strange, hours and are forced to set sleep aside while the rest of us are tucked quietly in our beds. Some responders are forced to work twenty-four hour shifts, where they are awoken by the sound of a blaring alarm, and expected to jump to their feet and grace the scene with a clear head. Being an emergency responder means being flexible. You will be working while the rest of your family is enjoying holidays or evenings together, and there is nothing you can do to change it. There is nothing normal about the schedules these professionals work, but each one of them is able and willing to step up to the plate.
  • You are an adrenaline junkie. For some of us, a nerve-wracking experience leaves us short of breath with a pound heart. For emergency responders, this same experience gives them a drive that allows them to perform at their absolute best in the worst situations. Emergency medical responders can go from a sound sleep one minute to the sound advice that saves a life the next. Remember, it is not for the faint of heart. There is an element of yearning to be surrounded by an adrenaline rush when you get into work that is at the heart of every emergency responder.
  • You have a strong desire to serve people. Emergency responders need to have a level of compassion that many people may lack. While others are concerned with working for themselves, emergency responders put themselves last and are always willing to step up to the plate and help save lives. This sometimes means putting their own family and their own needs aside to do so. Emergency responders are faced with patients who abuse, demean, and criticize them, and expected to treat them with a compassion that the average human wouldn’t even think of displaying in the same circumstances. It takes a truly dedicated human being to become an emergency responder and their desire to serve others is apparent.
  • You have passed the rite of initiation. Emergency responders are a great group of people. But, given their lifestyle, they are a group that are very territorial. In addition to the difficult testing that serves as a rite of passage to those interested in the field, fellow co-workers have their own rite of initiation that those coming on board are expected to pass. If you can handle all the stress and obstacles that come with the profession, signing onto be an emergency responder will be the best choice you have ever made. After all, emergency responders don’t only love their jobs and those they work with, they are loved by all the lives they go out and save every time they put on the uniform.