In an emergency situation of any type, police, emergency medical personnel, firefighters, trained rescue workers, and others might respond to a 911 call. The emergency response community refers to these frontline positions as first responders. Although many individuals may assist them, first responders comprise the individuals who arrive first on the scene contain the situation, and treat any injured.

For example, when first responders arrive at an accident scene, they may need to clear debris to reach the wreckage containing the injured individuals. To do this, they may use a forklift operator to man a forklift and/or a bulldozer. These positions that assist the first responders, such as the forklift operators, underwent a 16% salary increase in the last five years, according to Action GRP. Let’s consider the main first responder positions.

1. Emergency Manager

Emergency managers work on a variety of tasks, including mapping potential hazards, such as flooding, analyzing data regarding wildfire potential, and planning responses to weather events, such as hurricanes. The emergency manager then leads the response to the natural or human-induced hazard. This position works closely with individuals in regional and city planning to update flood zone information. About 25% of flood damage occurs in areas not designated as high-risk flood zones, so emergency managers and urban planners try to educate the public about the importance of purchasing flood insurance.

2. Police Officer

Police officers respond to all types of 911 calls from missing children to graffiti vandalism. They patrol neighborhoods in police cruisers, typically working in pairs. Beat cops and those assigned to patrol typically comprise the police first responders. Other police may join them, such as investigators, crime scene analysts, etc.

3. Firefighter

Firefighters respond to more than fires. They also deploy when someone calls 911 about an emergency rescue situation, such as when Baby Jessica fell down a well at her home. Firefighters jokingly respond to calls about a cat stuck in a tree, but many departments do conduct animal rescues. In some locations, fire suppression personnel also undergo training in emergency rescue situations in the wilderness, such as rescuing mountain climbers, skiers, campers, hikers, etc.

4. Emergency Medical Technician

The position of emergency medical technician (EMT), also commonly referred to as a paramedic, involves providing trauma care and emergency medical treatment. These first responders take a wide range of calls, from burns from a Roman candle to trucking accidents. Many accidents occur at or near the person’s home from seemingly innocuous activities, such as tree trimming. About 65% of tree service work gets performed at a single-family residence, according to Arborists Near Me.

5. Emergency Room Doctor and Nurse

This broad category of doctors includes emergency room physicians, trauma specialists, trauma surgeons, and other specialties in health and medical care. Dentists and plastic surgeons also number among the types of doctors who serve as first responders. Emergency room nurses undergo specialized training similar to doctor’s training in order to handle emergency situations ranging from flood victims to spinal injuries.

Any of the first responder positions require training after high school. Some positions, such as doctor or nurse, require earning more than one college degree. Other positions, such as police officer or firefighter, require college plus specialized training.

If you think a career as a first responder interests you, explore ways to learn more firsthand, such as volunteering. The American Red Cross offers training to interested members of the community on how to assist first responders in a natural or human-induced hazard. Volunteering in your community can help you learn aspects of the job that interest you while helping your community build resiliency against hazards.