First responders provide important and often life-saving services to local communities all across southern California. The dangers that firefighters and police face as part of their basic job leave them highly vulnerable to personal injury and ongoing mental health effects. Only military personnel stationed in active combat zones encounter more stress and life-threatening situations than firefighters and police officers.
Protection for injuries and ongoing costs
California workers’ compensation law requires local units to provide coverage for first responders, including firefighters and police officers. The respective firefighting units and police departments are public entities, which means the local communities must look after their welfare just as the first responders are there to protect and serve their respective communities.
Physical dangers abound
Burning buildings and armed criminals make work as firefighters and police officers especially dangerous and stressful. When simply doing a job correctly might result in death or permanent injury, the physical dangers greatly exceed those encountered in most other occupations.
Continual exposure to imminent danger has ill effects
One of the highly stressful elements of firefighting and policing is the likelihood of encountering truly life-threatening situations at virtually any time. First responders may have to make life-or-death decisions in a split second and live with the consequences, much like active military personnel. The extreme pressures and truly life-altering propositions in which many find themselves can result in dangerous working conditions and mental health effects.
Off-duty dangers abound
Even when not on the job, the ill effects still follow many first responders. Among firefighters, suicide is a pervasive issue perpetuated by post-traumatic stress disorder and other disorders. The fire service loses about four times more workers due to suicide than death due to direct work-related causes.
The variety of physical and mental ill effects encountered can make workers’ comp claims especially difficult for many first responders. An attorney experienced in workers’ comp cases in the greater Anaheim area may help local first responders to obtain the benefits earned for injuries and ongoing psychological effects of work as a first responder.