What is a First Responder?

First responders are part of every community. Police officers help during traffic accidents. EMTs respond to medical emergencies, big or small. Firefighters save homes as fire rages. Correctional officers, sheriffs, SWAT team members, lifeguards, US Marshals, and others make up the community of first responders people interact with here or there throughout life.

Who are First Responders?

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), "The term 'first responder' refers to those individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment, including emergency response providers as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 USC § 101), as well as emergency management, public health, clinical care, public works, and other skilled support personnel (such as equipment operators) that provide immediate support services during prevention, response, and recovery operations."

As you can see, the term first responder covers a wide range of those who rush head-first into dangerous and harrowing situations. Here's a little bit more about what first responders do:

  • Police: Police officers work to prevent, detect, and report on crime. They apprehend suspects and assist the general public while supporting towns and cities' laws across the country.
  • Sheriffs: Sheriffs, like police officers, work to prevent and detect crime. They often are elected officials who liaise between the police force and the community and charged with such tasks as seizing property and serving warrants.
  • SWAT: SWAT team members use military equipment and tactics to face situations beyond what standard police duty would take care of, such as violent criminals, hostage situations, and serving narcotics warrants.
  • Highway Patrol: Highway patrol focuses on traffic safety and compliance. They can be part of a local police force or a separate division, depending on the state.
  • Firefighters: Firefighters are mostly known for fighting fires that threaten property and life. However, they do so much more, such as rescuing animals and people in dangerous situations, performing first aid, and responding to traffic accidents.
  • Lifeguards: Lifeguards specialize in the safety and rescue of swimmers in pools, lakes, beaches, and other bodies of water. They specialize in swimming, CPR, and water rescue.
  • Coast Guard: The Coast Guard functions as a military, law enforcement, and regulatory agency focused on enforcing maritime law, protecting the environment, and search and rescue.
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs): EMTs provide emergency medical assistance to those in need. EMTs typically work in ambulances and go to medical emergency scenes, such as someone's home or a traffic accident.
  • Department of Corrections: Correctional officers and those who work for the Department of Corrections work in prisons across the US to enforce rules, maintain security, and supervise daily activities.
  • District Attorney (DA) Investigators: DA investigators are officers of the peace who help district attorney offices perform various investigative duties. They often work with federal and other law enforcement agencies to investigate specific types of crime.
  • US Marshals: The US Marshals Service (USMS) is a federal law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice. They report to the US Attorney General as the enforcement unit of federal courts. They protect judges, operate the witness protection program, and execute federal warrants.

These brief descriptions don't even come close to all the things first responders are responsible for and do day in and day out.

As you can imagine, being a first responder puts these heroes face-to-face with some of the most dangerous, stressful, and challenging situations life can throw someone's way. The stress, trauma, and aftermath of these encounters have a lasting impact on first responders.

What Challenges Do First Responders Face Seeking Treatment

First responders face some of the toughest situations any person will face in life. They face these challenges every day. When it comes time to admit they have issues with alcohol, substances, or other mental health issues, they need specialized treatment and care from a team of professionals who understand them. They need First Responders First.

First Responders first is a mental health & treatment center open to active, retired, and former first responders. We work exclusively with first responders to give them the space they need to overcome life's challenges from being our everyday heroes. If you're a first responder that needs help, let First Responders First support you on the road to recovery. Reach out to us today.