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Burnout in Fire Fighting: Causes and Impacts (Essay Sample)


Write an essay on an issue that affects fire fighters.
Minimum 6 pages MLA Format Including Title, Intro, hook, thesis statement. use at least three quotes from the sources provided and bold the quotes. introduce the issue, address its impacts and causes. the essay must have headings and subheadings
I just uploaded a revised works cited sheet with 5 citations of 5 scholarly articles I got from Ebscohost


Burnout in Firefighting: Causes and Impacts
One of the leading sources of stress in the workplace is the inability to balance the demands of a job with personal issues such as family and relationships. Long-term stress can lead to burnout, affecting cognitive, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Burnout is a multifaceted condition characterized by cynicism, exhaustion, and depersonalization (Smith et al. 216). Firefighters are vulnerable to burnouts, and if their emotional, physical, and cognitive wellbeing is compromised, it can affect their productivity and job performance, leading to adverse impacts on society. In addition, it is closely linked to fatigue, errors, and injuries. Indeed, firefighters who suffer burnout are highly likely to deviate from safety behaviors, ignore compliance regulations related to protective equipment, and deviate from safe workplace practices (Greinacher et al. 122). Burnout, defined as a state of general exhaustion mainly caused by work pressure, work stress, and poor work-life balance, has adverse effects, including low-quality safety behaviors among firefighters, poor communication and coordination, workplace disharmony, and conflicts and poor health.
Burnout in firefighting
Firefighting is one of the riskiest and most complex occupations, and workers are exposed to many hazards. Apart from the physical risks involved, significant psychological risks are also prevalent “Firefighters are regularly required to respond to dangerous and unpredictable events that usually involve some form of human loss and suffering” (Smith et al. 215). It means that the workers are exposed to traumatic situations that regularly expose them to psychological stress. “Some operations are supposed to be performed with limited available resources and with the added pressure of considerable time constraints "Smith et al. 215). Working without the necessary equipment and time constraints leads to cognitive stress. A long-term combination of physical, psychological, and cognitive stress leads to burnout.
Burnout, a state of general exhaustion, occurs when they cannot meet constant demands due to overwhelming situations that emotionally and cognitively drain them. Firefighters are usually exposed to demanding and difficult work situations. Arguably, they work in a high-risk environment that exhausts them physically, mentally, and emotionally. In addition, they frequently witness traumatic events that have a psychological impact on them (Smith et al. 216). The demanding nature of their work also makes them unable to balance between their personal lives and work demands. All these factors lead to burnout, which can adversely impact their performance, which may expose them and society to many risks due to their compromised wellbeing.
Impact of burnout on firefighters
Burnout in firefighters compromises the quality of their work and their ability to promote safety in the workplace. Understandably, it affects the responsivity of a firefighter to a wide range of workplace demands, which may have adverse safety outcomes. First, burnout is related to increased errors among firefighters (Smith et al. 215). According to Smith et al., when they experience general exhaustion, the quality of their judgment fades, making them vulnerable to errors of commission omission. These errors can lead to accidents which can aggravate the fire incidents they were meant to deal with, exposing themselves and the society to danger (Smith et al. 215). Some of the firefighter errors have been witnessed due to fatigue failure to carry the necessary equipment and tools to locations with fire incidents, making them unable to respond to fires effectively.
Secondly, burnout leads to reduced safety performance among firefighters, making them and society vulnerable. A firefighter experiencing general exhaustion is less likely to remember all the safety regulations. For example, they may forget to wear protective gear, exposing themselves to risks (Smith et al. 217). In addition, they might perform unsafe operations prohibited by their rules, affecting their safety and that of the public. Adherence to safe work practices is also low among firefighters experiencing burnout.
Another negative impact of burnout is poor communication. Communication is an essential aspect of firefighting because it facilitates coordination and effective handling of incidents. In the context of safety, burnout affects communication outcomes, leading to miscommunication. For example, firefighters might send messages to the wrong people or send inappropriate messages (Smith et al. 218). In addition, burnout affects their clarity during communication, affecting coordination during fire events. Poor communication in the context of safety can lead to delayed responses to fire incidents, expose self and others to danger, and lead to costly mistakes resulting in lawsuits.
Workplace conflicts are another impact of burnout. "People experiencing burnout can harm their colleagues, both by causing greater personal conflict and by disrupting job tasks" (Maslach and Leiter 105). This statement means that burnout can be contagious and is likely to perpetuate itself through social interactions in the workplace. When an employee experiences burnout, their level of aggression increases (Smith et al. 218). As a result, they are likely to be aggressive and disruptive, creating conflict and disharmony in the workplace. Poor working relations caused by conflict can affect communication and coordination and negatively affect safety outcomes. Therefore, the impact of burnout go beyond the person experiencing it since it can be contagious.
A strong relationship and poor health exist “poor health contributes to burnout and burnout contributes to poor health" (Maslach and Leiter 106). Burnout leads to adverse health outcomes such as chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, and headaches (Christ). A person experiencing burnout also experiences gastrointestinal disorders, muscle tension, episodes of colds and flu, and hypertension. These physiological manifestations closely mirror those of chronic stress. The poor state of health can affect the performance of a firefighter, which can lead to delays, mistakes and errors, poor judgment, and accidents (Smith et al. 217). Indeed, the poor state of health caused by burnout can expose the firefighter and society to safety risks.
Causes of burnout among firefighters
Work Pressure
One of the leading causes of burnout among firefighters is work pressure. Notably, firefighters have a demanding jobs, and in most cases, they have irregular work hours. In addition, they may be faced with unpredictable and high call volumes. Firefighters may also be forced to work for long hours on some days leading to fatigue (Greinacher et al., 123). Time pressure and expectation to perform flawlessly during emergencies regardless of available personnel and resources also put pressure on firefighters. A vast body of literature has explored the link between burnout and high job demands in this profession. According to O’Neill, Oliviaamanda, and Rothbard, following safety protocols without appropriate resources and enough personnel puts pressure on firefighters. The degree to which the workers feel under pressure to complete tasks in short periods and resource-constrained context is high. Long-term pressure leads to burnout among the firefighters.
Work stress
Stress is another source of burnout in the firefighting context. Research on burnout is positioned in a broader framework of stress in the workplace. "The transactional model of stress posits that stress is the product of person-environment interactions”(Smith et al. 216). The framework perceives stress as a subjective response, and what stresses one person may not stress another. It means that stress depends on how individuals appraise the circumstances and situations around them, resulting from subjective cognitive processes. F
Firefighters experience a wide range of stressors, with the main one being traumatic stress. In the course of their job, fight fighters experience traumatic events such as burnt bodies or badly injured people, which leads to psychological stress. Long-term exposure to traumatic events can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. The second stressor is resource unavailability. Performing risky actions in the context of resource shortage often puts a lot of stress on firefighters. Their job requires them to risk their liv

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