The Experience of Traumatic Stress among Urban Firefighters

Barnes, Paul H. (2000) The Experience of Traumatic Stress among Urban Firefighters. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 14(4), pp. 59-60.


Findings provide evidence that it is possible for emergency responders to become ‘locked into’ a regular cycle of trauma exposure that includes rapid returns to operationally ready status (i.e. being made available for another turnout immediately, or soon after returning from a previous emergency situation). Without the opportunity to interrupt the emotional reaction of an earlier traumatic response, a downward spiral of inescapable stress response may be instigated and with ongoing exposure.

This paper details evidence suggesting the existence of a relationship between the work tasks of the fire fighters and a propensity for certain physiological responses and stress reactions noted during on-the-job research. Sensitivity to such processes may be gradually built up among emergency responders as their career progresses. The work suggests that in addition to instances of critical incident stress, that could be expected among emergency workers, the turn-out mechanism used actually pre-disposes the fire fighters to ongoing traumatic responses.

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ID Code: 2121
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Firefighting, emergency response, critical incident stress, turn, out system cycles
ISSN: 1324-1540
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2000 Emergency Management Australia
Copyright Statement: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal’s web page (see link).
Deposited On: 27 Sep 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 13:25

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