Aftermath Discusses the Hidden Dangers of Police Work
It is commonly accepted that police and other law enforcement personnel put themselves at risk in order to protect our communities. However, some of the greatest risks to officers are those that least understood or appreciated. As a leader in the biohazard industry, Aftermath Services is committed to safety training and education for first responders. We recognize that in a traumatic situation, families often look to police to answer questions about “what happens next.” Beyond encouraging an understanding of the role we serve as a biohazard cleanup company, we also aim to raise awareness of the dangers of bloodborne pathogens and other biohazards.
Traffic accidents present a serious danger to police officers, especially those whose primary responsibilities are traffic enforcement. Over the past five years, traffic related fatalities have been the single leading cause of death for police officers. An average work day may require an officer to work outside of their vehicle on a busy street, whether at the scene of a crash or performing traffic and safety stops. These officers are in extremely vulnerable positions and risk getting hit by preoccupied drivers.
Furthermore, members of law enforcement spend a great deal of time driving in general, which naturally increases their risk of being involved in an accident. Add to these factors the experience of driving in emergency response or in police pursuits, and it is easy to understand why traffic accidents are a major source of concern.
Stress and Other Mental Health Risks
A police officer’s hours are rarely 9-5. Most departments use some form of rotating shifts, which encourage poor sleeping habits and fatigue. Add to that the stress that comes from heavy responsibility and working with the public, and it’s easy to understand why, by some estimates, almost half of police officers are affected by some form of stress.
Data from the CDC supports this conclusion, documenting that between 120 and 150 police officers commit suicide each year, at a rate of about 22 suicides per 100,000 officers. This rate is nearly twice the rate of the general population and almost triple the number of officers killed by criminals each year.
Communicable Disease and Bloodborne Pathogens
It’s the most difficult aspect of the job in many respects. Each and every day, first responders are called to traumatic scenes to assist the public. Blood and other biological materials may be present at accidents and crime scenes, but also in squad cars, jail cells, and even public areas. Moreover, bloodborne pathogens exist in human blood, and can spread diseases from one human to another when proper precautions aren’t taken to clean or remediate the area.
In most cases, officers are not equipped with the proper materials to work safely in a crime scene where blood or bio is present. Not only does Aftermath provide cleanup assistance, but we also promote the use of PPE and other precautions as means of mitigating this risk.
How Can Aftermath Help?
Aftermath is committed to helping families across the country recover from serious and tragic situations such as homicide, suicide, and unattended death. Many police departments are familiar with our services, and some have even worked with us themselves. With 24/7 service and locations throughout the US, we are uniquely positioned to assist those in need, no matter where they live.
Additionally, we offer special training and services to the law enforcement community, including Bloodborne Pathogen and PPE training, as well as routine cleaning services for government property. To inquire about these offerings, please visit our special page for law enforcement, or call 877-872-4339 for immediate assistance.
New England PDs! You Can Enter to Win QuikClot Belt Trauma Kits from Aftermath:
For officers and their departments in the New England service area, we are sponsoring a special giveaway. Until June 30th, 2016, you can enter to win up to $500 worth of QuikClot belt trauma kits. Offer is open to police in the following states: MA, RI, NH, ME, CT, VT. Visit the contest website for full details and entry form.