Firefighters and the Struggle with Sleep – When Firemen have another enemy to fight with

Being a firefighter requires hard work and dedication. A fascinating job carried out by skilled professionals, with the purpose of saving people and fighting fires. But there is another tough enemy a fireman has to face everyday: sleepiness.

Sleeping is essential for human beings, however for a firefighter who works on hard shifts, sleeping is a sore point. The former captain of Lower Chichester (PA) Fire Company and expert in Crisis Stress Intervention Mark W. Lamplugh talks about the relation between American firefighters and sleepiness in the article below.

He also has helped hundreds of firefighters, police officers, veterans, EMS personnel, and civilians nationwide find help for addiction, alcoholism, PTSD, and mental health support. In his article, Mark Lamplugh highlights the importance of sleeping for humans, in particular for firefighters who suffer everyday important conditions of distress.

You’re rolling around in your bunk. Your weary eyes gaze through the gloom to your digital clock – 3:00 AM. You turn again and sigh. One minute, you’re too hot and kick at your sheets. The next, too cold. You can hear your buddy snoozing on the other side of the room – why can’t you be like him? You know a call could come at any time, but you try to force that thought from your mind. You need rest. You screw your eyes shut, and immediately the day’s events start playing over again in your head. What could I have done better? The mistakes of today and past days swarm around you like specters. That’s when the call comes. Sirens are blaring, you lurch into wakefulness, staggering exhausted to the next crisis.

Increasingly, people in our modern society are facing longer commutes and more work hours, resulting in less sleep. The effects range from more auto accidents to more illness, but the rigors of firefighting place even greater demands on the human body and mind. It’s no secret that firefighters struggle with sleep. A combination of factors conspires to rob firefighters of needed rest. First… (keep on reading the article here)