As someone who puts his or her life on the line for others, you probably have firsthand knowledge of just how dangerous your job as a firefighter can be. The nature of your profession exposes you to a particularly high level of on-the-job risk, and the injuries you may suffer as a firefighter can prove devastating, potentially leading to a lifetime of hardship, or even death.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 62,000 firefighters suffered job-related injuries in 2016, with some types of injuries and accidents proving more common than others. In your role as a firefighter, you run the risk of suffering harm such as:
Sprains, strains and related injuries
Firefighters often carry heavy loads. They occasionally carry people or animals during rescue operations. Heavy gear, physical exertion and challenging conditions can make you likely to experience strains, sprains and muscle pains in your line of work. While some of these injuries result directly from firefighting, others develop because of participation in non-emergency activities.
Exposure to hazardous substances
As a firefighter, you also run the risk of developing health issues related to exposure to hazardous chemicals or infectious diseases. In 2016, for example, firefighters reported more than 9,200 cases of exposure to various infectious diseases, including hepatitis and meningitis, among others. Meanwhile, another 36,475 firefighters reported they had suffered exposure to hazardous chemicals and other substances while on the job.
While any job that involves transportation involves a certain degree of risk, the fact that firetrucks often travel at high speeds makes them even more hazardous. More than 15,400 crashes involving firetrucks and related emergency vehicles took place on the nation’s roads in 2016.
As a firefighter, you make your living in an inherently dangerous line of work. In some cases, injuries and ailments you develop on the job can affect you physically, emotionally and financially for the remainder of your life. Getting proper compensation for injuries can be the difference between a full recovery and years of scraping by. Make sure you know your rights after an injury.