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Emergency Medical Technician: Job Conditions

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Paramedics and EMTs work both outdoors and indoors, in various types of weather. The job requires considerable bending, kneeling, and heavy lifting. EMTs risk noise-induced hearing loss from loud sirens and back problems from lifting patients.

Additionally, EMTs and paramedics may be exposed to diseases such as hepatitis B (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as violence from mentally disturbed or intoxicated individuals. The work can be physically strenuous and often involves life-or-death situations. This fast-paced environment can lead to poor eating habits and sleep deprivation. Still, many people find the work challenging and exciting and enjoy the opportunity to assist others in need.

EMS providers employed by fire departments work about 50 hours per week and those working for private ambulance companies, between 45 and 50 hours. The job sometimes requires extended periods of "on-call" time. Emergency medical services operate around the clock so EMTs and paramedics often have irregular work hours that can add to job stress.

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