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What happens when an EMT needs an ambulance?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2024 | Workplace Injuries

An emergency medical technician (EMT) works a relatively dangerous job. They respond at a moment’s notice to someone who needs immediate medical care. They may rush to the scenes of car crashes, active fires and criminal activity.

The medical aid that they provide can potentially save someone’s life. Unfortunately, EMTs sometimes end up in need of medical support themselves. The risks that come with providing emergency medical support can leave an EMT or paramedic incapable of working for some time. The following are the top job hazards that might force an EMT to take a leave of absence and file a workers’ compensation claim.


Overexertion injuries such as sprains and strains were the top-reported medical issues among EMTs in 2020. They are responsible for nearly a third of all lost-time incidents. Providing patient care can be very difficult, especially if someone is combative, unconscious or very heavy. Workers can throw out their backs or cause other injuries while trying to stabilize, assist or transport a patient.

Patient violence

Individuals injured during the commission of a crime may fight EMTs who come to offer assistance because they fear getting arrested at the hospital. Those who are under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs might also become combative. Other people may experience psychosis as a side effect of a serious illness or a reaction to a new medication. Patient violence is responsible for almost a fifth of the EMT injuries reported on the job.

Exposure to dangerous objects and compounds

EMTs sometimes get hurt because they experience an accidental needle poke that exposes them to bodily fluids and pathogens. Other times, they could have contact with dangerous medical equipment such as external artificial defibrillation devices. Interacting with people who are ill can also expose EMTs to hazardous materials that could make them sick. Exposure to substances and dangerous equipment causes more than a quarter of EMT injuries and lost time incidents at work.

Transportation incidents

Rushing to the scene of a car crash or similar accident could lead to a collision. Although ambulances and similar vehicles have the right of way, other drivers can do unsafe things. Traffic collisions put EMTs in the hospital for weeks and account for 15% of reported injuries.

Slips, trips and falls

EMTs often need to access unsafe locations relatively quickly. They may rush into a building and end up tripping over debris. They could slip on slick surfaces. Falling can lead to brain injuries and broken bones, and it is the source of another 10% of reported injuries.

EMTs who get hurt while trying to help others can potentially file workers’ compensation claims. Pursuing workers’ compensation benefits can help EMTs pay their bills until they can get back to work. Disability and medical benefits can defray many of the costs that are possible after a work injury.