Ever since my childhood I have been fascinated with the Fire trucks responding to emergencies wondering what kind of services they were going to provide. I knew by the time I was sixteen that I would be a firefighter when I got older. I have been a Firefighter since 1994, first as a volunteer in Prince George's County then as a career firefighter/medic in Montgomery County, MD. I work a rotating shift schedule of 24 hours of work followed by 48 hours off duty. This means I do about 9-10 24-hour shifts a month. I began firefighting because it was exciting to me and I got to help people. I believe that a basic understanding of psychology would help me understand issues that would affect me during my career as a firefighter/medic. Firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the nation, along with the dangers faced in everyday response to emergencies there is an unseen danger in the emotional toll that one deals with during a career. In recent years due to tragic events such as 9-11 attacks there has been more focus on the stress firefighters face and trouble they have coping with the stress. In this paper I will describe how I will use psychology in my life and career. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PSTD) is defined as Delayed stress reaction in which an individual involuntarily reexperiences emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of past trauma (Zimbardo, Johnson, Weber, 2006). The article I read about PSTD discussed the difference in the prevalence of PTSD symptoms in firefighters that work in the United States and Canada (Corneil, Beaton, Murphy, Johnson, Pike, 1999). The side effects of PSTD can have a negative effect on my performance level at work and social interaction level at home. If I have an understanding of this I can see the warning signs and seek assistance to help me cope with it. My wife is also a firefighter in a neighboring jurisdiction. I believe that by having the same profession it allows us to have a better understanding of...
References: Corneil, W., Beaton, R., Murphy, S., Johnson, C., & Pike,K. (1999). Exposure to traumatic incidents and prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptomatology in urban firefighters in two countries, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (4), 131-141
Zimbardo,P.G., Weber,A.L., & Johnson, R.L. Psychology core concepts(5thed.). Boston,MA:Allyn and Bacon
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