The Dangers of Being an EMT

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The Dangers of Being an EMT

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What do you get when you cross a doctor with an adrenaline junkie?  A superhero! Well, sort of. You get an EMT – Emergency Medical Team. As an EMT you save lives almost every day, and you get a great feeling of accomplishment. I don’t think there is a better feeling. Also people give you a lot of respect. Even if that person doesn’t like you, it’s hard to not respect someone that ether saved your life or someone’s life you care about.


Some people don’t know EMTs put there live at risk almost every day. One of the scariest part of being an EMT is not knowing how someone will react to an emergency, that goes for the patients and the EMTs themselves. A patient might suddenly become violent or an EMT might freak out and panic and not be able to do their job. For example, let’s say that there is a drug overdosed patient in the ambulance and the cops didn’t search him very well.  All of a sudden, in the middle of a calm ride to the hospital, if there is such a thing, the patient becomes conscious and pulls out a gun and starts shooting. It has happened. In addition, close contact with patients’ blood and bodily fluids leaves paramedics vulnerable to contracting infectious diseases. Exposure to blood is a reality for paramedics, who often assist bleeding patients in unpredictable conditions. To treat trauma victims, paramedics must perform advanced procedures using needles and other sharp surgical instruments. Paramedics risk infections from blood-borne pathogens from the Hepatitis B and C viruses, and the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. Paramedics are also at risk from the splashing of blood or bodily fluids, especially if they don’t wear protective eye goggles and face masks.

Along with the dangers from interacting with patients, there is a lot of stuff in the day to day routine of being an EMT that is also dangerous. Working in all types of indoor and outdoor environments exposes paramedics to hazardous chemicals, materials and sounds that may lead to significant hearing loss. It is also very easy to get physically injured on the job. The majority of injuries, 84%, involved sprains and strains, mostly in the hands and fingers, and 42% of all injuries affected the lower back. About half of these injuries are due to having to move another person, often lifting or moving the patient from a location to the ambulance, of from a dangerous area to a more safe and secure one.   

Perhaps the worst part of being an EMT is the psychological stresses. For some paramedics, the emotional and mental trauma of constantly dealing with life-or-death situations leads to post traumatic stress disorder, a condition characterized by severe anxiety, nightmares and depression. The Paramedics also feel extreme psychological stress about making critical decisions within seconds of responding to an emergency.

Being an EMT is really like being an adrenaline junky superhero; they are always putting their life at risk every day.  They don’t do it for the money, it might be the most underpaid job in the world. Average starting salary for an EMT is around $12 per hour.  That is barely above minimum wage. The average yearly salary is around $35,000 per year, and 50% of all EMT’s make less than that. Yet people still need EMTs every day, saving lives is important! Why does a bank teller, who simply counts money all day,  make more than someone who is risking his or her own life to save somebody else’s? Is cooking fancy food, top chefs make close to $100,000 a year, more important than saving lives as the need arises? I think not. I wish I could get these heroes the justice they deserve. At the very least, we need to recognize them as heroes.


Heibutzki, Ralph. “What Unusual Hazards Does Being a Paramedic
Present?”, Hearst Newspapers, LLC, 9 Apr. 2018,

Page, David. “Studies Show Dangers of Working in EMS.” Journal of Emergency
Medical Services
, PennWell Corporation, 31 Oct. 2011,

Shmoop Editorial Team. “EMT: Odds of Hangin On.” Shmoop, Shmoop University,
11 Nov. 2008,

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