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Common First Responder Injuries 

Posted in Work Injury on November 13, 2023

Police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel all have varying and complex workplace duties. Unfortunately, first responders regularly sustain workplace injuries and contract illnesses related to their jobs. The Phoenix work injury attorneys at Crossman Law want to examine some of the most common first responder injuries that occur throughout Arizona.

First Responders Get Placed Into Unpredictable Situations

No two calls are exactly alike. Any first responder will tell you that. Whether responding to a medical emergency, a house fire, or a crime in progress, the elements associated with each call are different. Because of this, the types of injuries first responders typically sustained on the job are wide-ranging.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Personnel

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) highlighted that EMS workers and paramedics frequently encounter musculoskeletal injuries, often in the form of strains or sprains affecting the neck and back. This prevalence can be attributed to the physically demanding nature of their work, which frequently involves lifting and moving patients, subjecting them to overuse injuries.

Additionally, EMS workers face a heightened risk of injury or illness due to exposure to blood and respiratory secretions. Notably, a study also revealed that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is increasingly more prevalent among emergency medical personnel compared to workers in other professions.

Police Officers

The hazards of police work are widely acknowledged. Whether it involves responding to violent incidents or engaging in pursuits on foot or in vehicles, police officers face constant exposure to potential injuries. Indeed, empirical evidence suggests that it may rank among the most perilous professions.

A study featured in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine revealed that within the realm of law enforcement, non-fatal injuries occur at a striking rate of 635 per 10,000 full-time officers. This rate is notably three times higher than the non-fatal injury rate observed across all other occupations in the United States, which stands at 213 per 10,000. The three most prevalent categories of injury events are:

  • Assaults or other type of violence, accounting for 35 percent of cases.
  • Overexertion, contributing to 15 percent of incidents.
  • Transportation accidents, comprising 14 percent of injuries.

These statistics underscore the exceptional risk factors that police officers contend with daily.


In contrast to police officers, firefighters frequently confront emergency situations involving hazardous materials and gases, exposing them to dangerous chemicals, fumes, and extreme temperatures. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, their line of work presents significant risks.

  • Overexertion incidents account for a substantial portion of injuries, comprising 38 percent, which is understandable given the heavy weight of a firefighter’s gear.
  • Falls represent the second leading cause of injuries, making up 18 percent of cases, often attributed to the need for ladder use.
  • Exposure to fire-related products, such as smoke, stands as the third most common cause of injury at 17 percent.

These statistics underscore the challenging and perilous nature of firefighting.

Contact an Attorney for Help

If you or somebody you care about is a first responder and have sustained a workplace injury or illness, you may need legal assistance. A skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer in Arizona can help you recover the compensation needed to get through this. Your lawyer can investigate the injury, handle communication with the insurance carrier or your employer, and work through any appeals necessary to bring success to your claim.