Protecting the Mental Health of First Responders

Legal and Ethical Considerations

The public safety, human services, health, and relief workers who comprise the first wave of a response to natural or man-made disasters play a critical role in emergency preparedness. These first responders provide care and services in the immediate aftermath of emergencies and may remain in affected communities for weeks or months. They often work long hours under stressful conditions, witnessing the human harms, physical destruction and psychological devastation that can accompany disasters.