A lot of people have misconceptions about public safety careers. Safety isn’t just important because it means no one gets hurt but also because it protects members of the community who might otherwise become victims of crime or injury. In fact, injuries or deaths caused by accidents and injuries are the most common calls in public safety.
Public safety careers are also physically demanding, so you must be physically fit to sustain the job. Depending on the work environment, you may experience exposure to hazardous situations such as crime scenes, violence, or medical emergencies. You might even have to deal with physical resistance and release people who have been taken hostage or suspects resisting arrest.
Starting a career in public safety
The employment of public safety workers is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2024. Public safety experts believe that federal or state governments may use stricter security measures due to terrorist threats, or even closures due to natural disasters, as a reason for hiring more public safety professionals. To meet this expected growth in demand requires candidates with the skills and knowledge to improve public safety. Some educational establishments are now focusing on these areas by offering students the opportunity to study for a public safety management degree.
What does a career in public safety offer?
The life of a public safety worker isn’t easy. You may work long hours in difficult situations and deal with stressful incidents. Occasionally, you’ll be called out in the middle of the night or on holidays, so you will need some degree of flexibility with your schedule. However, public safety can also be a rewarding career to pursue if you have the attitude and personality to cope with the challenges that come with being a first responder. This career isn’t for everyone. It requires you to have strong interpersonal skills, as well as be able to work as part of a team in chaotic situations.
Typical Public Safety Careers
Firefighters work to protect people and property from fires by battling blazes and rescuing people trapped in a fire or an accident. Their job involves finding victims at a fire or putting out fires that have already damaged a building. This can be very stressful, but it is rewarding when firefighters can rescue someone from the danger of fire.
Police officers work to keep their communities safe by making arrests and attending traffic accidents and crime scenes. They also help victims of crimes and abuse through their role as first responders in emergency situations such as car crashes, domestic violence, hostage situations (such as kidnappings), and other violent acts.
Emergency Medical Technician
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) also serve the public by helping save lives in emergency situations. They help paramedics and doctors in rescuing victims or treating patients.
Paramedics are specially trained workers from the medical field who respond first to accidents and other situations to provide emergency care until an ambulance arrives. They are trained to administer drugs and intravenous fluids, draw blood, perform CPR, use special equipment such as cardiac monitors, and use an assortment of other life-saving techniques. In certain cases, a paramedic can transport a person to a hospital where a doctor or surgeon can see them or perform surgery.
Correctional officers help protect communities by preventing inmates from escaping, protecting the safety and security of the jail, and enforcing rules and regulations on those who are inside. The role of a correctional officer is to ensure that people are incarcerated in the correct facility. This can be rewarding because correctional officers have opportunities to prevent crime and punish those who violate laws.
Dispatchers are essential to public safety because they take calls and relay them to the right responders. Fire, police, and ambulances are often dispatched through dispatchers. They act as the central hub for any action that needs to be taken. Dispatchers are also in charge of logging in calls and sending out a team to respond to them.
Social & Community Service Manager
These professionals help community members with a variety of problems, including homelessness and crime. Social service managers make sure that the social needs of their communities are met and ensure people get the help they need to solve their problems.
As you can see, there is a broad spectrum of career paths in public safety. Your background, education, and training will determine the path you take. If you are interested in pursuing a career in public safety, ask yourself these questions:
- How often do I get anxious?
- How easily do I become sad?
- Do I quickly become angry?
If your answer is yes, then don’t think of a front-line career in public safety. Being able to control your anger and remain calm will be important for your success as a public safety worker. Remember that most situations that require police officers to respond are not just minor emergencies but full-blown crises.
You may find that your personality and career goals are more in line with becoming a public safety leader. Here you will need to be strong-willed, persistent, and have a quiet command presence. You should have the ability to motivate and persuade others to implement changes to improve public safety.
The world has become a more dangerous place than ever, with increased career opportunities in the public safety field. You will have to be willing to put yourself in harm’s way for the rest of the public’s protection. This can make public safety work stressful and dangerous, but it also comes with a great reward: knowing that you have helped make your community safer. To do this job, you need to be courageous, honest, and able to work well in a team because these are essential qualities of any first responder. Alternatively, you may be looking to build a career as a policymaker where you will need the skills and knowledge to enable you to bring your colleagues with you on your journey to improve public safety.