Working as a firefighter is an incredibly brave and selfless profession. However, it’s also a dangerous job, and firefighters are at risk of sustaining serious injuries while on the job. Here are five of the most common injuries that firefighters experience:
#1 - Burns
Burns are a type of injury that can cause lasting physical and emotional trauma. They can result from exposure to heat, cold, friction, electricity, or even certain kinds of chemicals. Since firefighters are often exposed to uncontrolled flames, burn injuries are quite common.
Typical signs of a burn include pain, redness, swelling, and blistering. Depending on the severity of the burn, there may be numbness or discolored skin and tissue.
Treatment for burns can vary depending on their severity. Burns not only result in physical discomfort but also psychological difficulties due to scarring in severe cases; support and counseling can help alleviate this difficulty as well as ensure that future treatments are successful.
#2 - Smoke Inhalation
Smoke inhalation can cause significant damage to the body, particularly to the lungs. In some extreme cases, a firefighter can become unconscious due to the amount of smoke they have inhaled. When this happens, their body is deprived of enough oxygen and needs immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of smoke inhalation include pain while breathing, hoarseness in the voice, a sense of tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. As a firefighter, it's important to get help right away if you experience any of these symptoms after being exposed to smoke.
Because untreated smoke inhalation can lead to permanent lung damage or even death in some cases due to asphyxiation, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek medical assistance right away.
#3 - Strains and Sprains
Strains and sprains are fairly common injuries, yet they can be painful and lead to long-term injury if not addressed properly. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far, usually as the result of an abnormal movement or overuse. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort or soreness to tissue rupture that can cause intense pain.
A sprain involves stretching and/or tearing of ligaments. That type of injury often results from sudden impact or extreme twisting movements. The resulting pain can range from moderate to severe and can take many weeks or months to heal.
Whether a firefighter is suffering from a strain or sprain, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to rule out any other problems and get appropriate treatment for the injury itself.
#4 - Fractures
Fractures are a common firefighter injury, involving a break in the continuity of a bone. Depending on how severe the fracture is, it can range from being mild and easily treatable to requiring surgery.
Fractures are caused by weak bones, trauma, or too much stress and strain being placed on one specific point. As you can see, it would not be very difficult to endure a fracture in a hazardous firefighting environment.
To diagnose a fracture, x-rays or other imaging tests may be used. Treatment for fractures usually involves protecting the affected area and allowing time for healing.
Of course, more extreme cases may require immobilization with aids such as splints, casts, and traction. Some people may also require surgery to repair fractured bones including internal fixation of metal plates and screws, external fixators, or a joint replacement.
No matter how mild or severe your fracture is, it is important to seek treatment and follow-up care to ensure you have a full recovery.
#5 - Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a serious condition caused by overexposure to extreme heat or physical activity in hot weather. Among firefighters, symptoms usually include heavy sweating, chills, headache, dizziness, nausea, and fainting.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to dehydration or even more severe conditions such as heat stroke. Firefighters must take extra care when working in extreme temperatures, always staying aware of their own well-being as well as that of their teams. Recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion at an early stage can go a long way to keep firefighters safe during taxing duty.
We Can Help Injured Firefighters
If you are a firefighter who has sustained an injury on the job, we want to help. Working with us can ensure that you receive the compensation and assistance you need. Contact us today to learn more.