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ABSTRACT

Introduction: It has long been anecdotally held by emergency responders that non-medical emergency responders were less willing to accept post-incident intervention following a personally disturbing event than their medical counterparts.

Methods: Aspects of emergency responder stress were studied across multiple disciplines of the emergency services: pre-hospital emergency medical services (EMS), fire protection, law enforcement, and emergency department (ED) or emergency room (ER) personnel. Individual anonymous surveys were administered across the four disciplines to assess willingness to accept post-incident intervention. Eight agencies participated: two hospital ERs, three fire departments, two police departments, and the county EMS agency, for a total of 236 participants, of whom 107 were medical emergency responders and 129 were non-medical emergency responders.

Results: Across the 4 disciplines (including the two groups of medical and non-medical) the willingness to participate was > 70%.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that, statistically, there is an equal level of willingness to participate in post-incident intervention between medical and non-medical emergency responders. However, many reported that they can “handle their stress on their own” or that they fear being perceived as weak.

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