Most Common Workplace Injuries for First Responders

first responders treating person outside back of ambulance

Working as a first responder is incredibly risky. You are putting your safety second to that of those you’re trying to save and protect and sometimes doing so jeopardizes your health. Not only are occupational injuries for police, EMTs, and firefighters more frequent, but they are also more severe and even fatal. So, what are the most common workplace injuries for first responders? Keep reading to find out.

Law Enforcement

Police and law enforcement are responsible for peacekeeping and protection – both of which come with plenty of risks. For those on the frontlines, injuries can turn into fatalities very quickly and there is little room for error or self-defense. It’s crucial that police protect others before themselves without risking the lives of those around them and unfortunately, doing so can cause harm.

The most common injuries for law enforcement include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Overexertion
  • Gun-related injuries and death
  • Burns
  • Muscle strain and sprains

Emergency Medical Services

For emergency medical technicians (EMTs), a day on the job could mean simply transporting patients to the hospital or it could include a physical altercation with a patient. Not only do EMTs have to respond and make decisions quickly, but they also have a strict set of guidelines for how issues are handled, and deviating from the rules can jeopardize their position.

Due to the stress of the job, EMTs have the highest rates of injury and illness of all emergency responders. There are no special suits or self defense measures for emergency medical technicians which also makes them the most vulnerable emergency responders.

Common injuries for EMTs include:

  • Violent attacks
  • Overexertion
  • Car, pedestrian, or aircraft accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Impact injuries
  • Exposer to infectious diseases


Firefighters face one of the most terrifying forces of nature – fire – every day. From stove fires to wildfires, firefighters are put in extremely hazardous situations and must face them fearlessly in order to successfully save lives. Not only do firefighters get injuries from heat and smoke, but they also are prone to injuries from unstable buildings, hazardous weather, and other uniquely unpredictable situations.

The most common injuries among firefighters include:

  • Smoke inhalation
  • Falls from significant heights
  • Thermal stress
  • Violent attacks from people and animals
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Fires and explosions
  • Internal and external burns

Worker’s Compensation for First Responders

Worker’s compensation exists to fill in the gaps and cover medical care after a workplace injury. For most people, a slip and fall or broken bone may be the extent of their need for compensation but for first responders, injuries range from gunshot wounds to third-degree burns, cancer, and infections.

Not only are some of these injuries harder to trace back to the job, but they are also very costly. Those suffering from one of these injuries could be out of work for weeks or months and may need intensive care and home health to recover fully. Lost wages pile up quickly and medical bills may become very expensive once all treatments and therapies are accounted for.

Not only do workplace injuries for first responders take time and money to recover, but they also take an emotional toll on the worker and their families. The mental strain can become too difficult to bear, and it may seem difficult to find help. In many cases, worker’s compensation isn’t enough to cover the resulting damage caused by the accident.

Those who put their lives on the line deserve proper coverage which is why the Law Offices of Wax & Wax offer a variety of legal services to help clients get the coverage and peace of mind they need. Contact our firm today for more information.

Share To: