BECOMING A FIRST RESPONDER
Becoming a first responder can be a challenging and rewarding career. Here are some of the rewards of becoming a first responder:
- Making a difference: First responders play a critical role in their communities by providing emergency services and saving lives. Knowing that you have made a positive impact on someone’s life can be incredibly rewarding1.
- Job security: First responders are always in demand, and the need for their services is unlikely to decrease in the future2.
- Variety: First responders work in a dynamic environment where no two days are the same. They encounter different situations and challenges every day, which can make the job exciting and fulfilling3.
- Training and development: First responders receive extensive training and development opportunities throughout their careers, which can help them develop new skills and advance their careers4.
- Teamwork: First responders work closely with other professionals, such as police officers, firefighters, and medical personnel, to provide emergency services. This teamwork can foster strong relationships and a sense of camaraderie among colleagues.
- Personal growth: Becoming a first responder can be a transformative experience that helps individuals develop new skills, gain confidence, and grow as individuals.
If teenagers are interested in becoming a first responder, there are several types of jobs they can prepare for. Here are some options:
- Firefighter: Firefighters are responsible for responding to fires and other emergencies. They also provide medical assistance and education to the public. To become a firefighter, your teenager will need to complete a fire academy training program and obtain certification from the National Fire Protection Association1.
- Police officer: Police officers are responsible for maintaining law and order in their communities. They respond to emergency calls, investigate crimes, and make arrests when necessary. To become a police officer, your teenager will need to complete a police academy training program and obtain certification from their state’s law enforcement agency1.
- Emergency medical technician (EMT): EMTs are responsible for providing emergency medical care to patients who are injured or ill. They work closely with firefighters and police officers to provide immediate assistance during emergencies. To become an EMT, your teenager will need to complete an EMT training program and obtain certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians2.
- Paramedic: Paramedics are responsible for providing advanced medical care to patients who are injured or ill. They work closely with EMTs and other first responders to provide immediate assistance during emergencies. To become a paramedic, your teenager will need to complete a paramedic training program and obtain certification from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians2.
- 911 dispatcher: 911 dispatchers are responsible for answering emergency calls and dispatching first responders to the scene of an emergency. They must be able to remain calm under pressure and communicate effectively with callers3.
- Search and rescue worker: Search and rescue workers are responsible for locating missing persons and providing assistance during natural disasters or other emergencies. They work closely with firefighters, police officers, and other first responders to provide immediate assistance during emergencies.
Remember that becoming a first responder requires dedication, hard work, and specialized training.
First responders face a variety of challenges in their line of work. Here are some common ones:
- Psychological stress: First responders are often exposed to traumatic events, which can lead to psychological stress and mental health issues1.
- Physical injuries: First responders are at risk of physical injuries while performing their duties, such as burns, cuts, and broken bones2.
- Exposure to hazardous materials: First responders may be exposed to hazardous materials such as chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive materials3.
- Long hours and shift work: First responders often work long hours and irregular shifts, which can lead to fatigue and sleep deprivation2.
- Lack of resources: First responders may not have access to the necessary resources, such as equipment and personnel, to effectively respond to emergencies3.
- Public scrutiny: First responders are often under public scrutiny and may face criticism for their actions during emergency situations4.
- Lack of training: First responders require specialized training to perform their duties effectively. A lack of training can lead to mistakes and accidents5.
It’s important to recognize the challenges that first responders face and provide them with the necessary training, support and resources to perform their duties safely and effectively.
There are several training and development opportunities available for first responders. Here are some resources that might be helpful:
- FEMAprovides world-class training and education for the nation’s first responders and emergency managers and other members of the whole community through a robust enterprise of institutions and partnerships managed by the National Preparedness Directorate’s National Training and Education Division (NTED) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) National Fire Academy. You can search for available courses from three FEMA training organizations—CDP, EMI, and NTED—easily in one location on the National Preparedness Course Catalog1.
- The American Red Crossprovides training and certification for police, fire, and EMS personnel. They offer a wide range of courses to help first responders develop new skills and advance their careers2.
- The Department of Homeland Securityoffers a variety of training resources for first responders, including courses on bioterrorism, emergency preparedness, and suicide prevention34.
- govserves as a central access point to validated, G&T-approved Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training and information for First Responder disciplines3.
FEMA offers a wide range of courses for first responders. You can find a comprehensive list of available courses on the National Preparedness Course Catalog 1. The catalog provides searchable, integrated information on courses provided or managed by FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), Emergency Management Institute (EMI), and National Training and Education Division (NTED). Some of the courses offered by FEMA include:
- ICS 100: Introduction to the Incident Command System
- ICS 200: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
- ICS 300: Intermediate Incident Command System for Expanding Incidents
- ICS 400: Advanced Incident Command System for Complex Incidents
- IS-100.C: Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS-100
- IS-200.C: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents, ICS-200
- IS-700.B: An Introduction to the National Incident Management System
- IS-800.C: National Response Framework, An Introduction
The duration of a FEMA course varies depending on the course. Some courses can be completed in a few hours, while others may take several days or weeks to complete. For example, the IS-0800.d: National Response Framework, An Introduction course takes approximately 3 hours to complete 1. However, the duration of other courses may be different.
To enroll in a FEMA course, you can visit the National Preparedness Course Catalog 1 and select the course you are interested in. The catalog provides searchable, integrated information on courses provided or managed by FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), Emergency Management Institute (EMI), and National Training and Education Division (NTED).
Once you have selected a course, you can follow the instructions provided to enroll. Some courses may require prerequisites or have other eligibility requirements, so be sure to review the course details carefully before enrolling.
If you are interested in taking an online course, you will need to register for a Student Identification Number (SID) if you have not done so already 1. You can obtain a SID by visiting the Student Identification System page.
There are also several resources available for finding inexpensive remote courses for first responders. Here are some options:
- The American Red Crossprovides training and certification for police, fire, and EMS personnel. They offer a wide range of courses to help first responders develop new skills and advance their careers1.
- orgprovides information on online and hands-on first responder training schools. They offer education programs, medical emergency coursework, and professional certification exam requirements2.
- Hazmat Schooloffers online OSHA First Responder Operations Training for $99 and OSHA On Scene Incident Commander Training for $1053
OSHA First Responder Operations Training is a course that provides training for individuals who respond to releases or potential releases of hazardous substances as part of the initial response to the site. The course covers topics such as:
- Basic hazard and risk assessment techniques
- Selection and use of proper personal protective equipment
- Basic hazardous materials terms
- Basic control, containment, and/or confinement operations
- Basic decontamination proceduresThe course is designed to meet the Federal OSHA HAZWOPER training requirements of 29 CFR 1910.120 (q) (6) (ii) for general industry, and 29 CFR 1926.65 (q) (6) (ii) for construction. The course duration is approximately 8 hours, and the cost is $99. You can enroll in the course online through Hazmat School or OSHA.com.