Fire EMS, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Sleep Deprivation in EMS

Issue 02 and Volume 166.

BY KATIE VANDALE There is no substitute for sleep. Like food, oxygen, and water, sleep is essential to maintain mental and physical well-being. In today’s society, emergency medical services (EMS) workers respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. EMS personnel are not immune to the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of sleep deprivation. Extended periods without sleep, disrupted sleep, and working against the body’s natural circadian rhythm can compromise the effectiveness of the EMS worker and impair performance, resulting not only in placing patient safety at risk but also in detrimental consequences to the EMS worker. Although we cannot avoid 24-hour operations, employers and employees can take measures to minimize the effects of sleep deprivation on EMS responders. NORMAL SLEEP We must sleep to maintain normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, critical thinking, and sense of time. To…

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