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Career Explorers: 7 Fast-Paced Roles in Emergency Services

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If the office 9-5 doesn’t feel like it would be right for you, and you’d like a career that offers a lot of variety and the opportunity to serve your community and help others, emergency services could be for you.

Emergency services are a vital part of maintaining safe communities, and the available roles cover many areas. From first aiders to paramedics, police officers to firefighters, there’s a lot to explore!

7 Fast-paced Roles in Emergency Services

Roles across the industry are highly varied and include a mix of low-skilled, entry-level positions, highly-skilled roles, and professional roles requiring specialised knowledge.

Here’s a look at seven great jobs you could get stuck into:

  1. Emergency Services Officer: In certain industries, such as mining and forestry, emergency services officers are employed to develop, manage, and action emergency plans to attend to situations if they arise. They provide specialist knowledge across industry-specific emergencies and act as the point of contact for external emergency service professionals to ensure situations are handled and managed as efficiently and quickly as possible.
  2. Paramedic: Paramedics provide rapid response to medical emergencies, assess and attend to patients with life-threatening and non-life-threatening injuries, often while in transit, and transport patients to health facilities such as hospitals. They’re trained to assess and determine individuals’ condition and gather as much factual information as possible from the patient or individuals nearby so they can advise medical staff once they arrive at the hospital to make further medical decisions. Paramedics are trained to drive ambulances and may work in air search and rescue to provide emergency care to individuals in hard-to-reach areas.
  3. Firefighters: Firefighters are trained specialists who handle emergencies. This is predominantly fires but could also include search and rescue, high-angle rescue, motor crash scenes and marine accidents. Firefighters work as part of a core team to assess, resolve and manage situations in the fastest and most effective way possible. They have superb communication and problem-solving skills. It’s a demanding career but an exceptionally rewarding one!
  4. Police Officer: Police officers have four primary responsibilities: enforcing the law, preventing crime, responding to emergencies, and supporting the community they serve. All of these responsibilities are as important as the other. Police officers may work for specific segments within their local, such as road regulation or drug and alcohol management. Many police are keen to support their community and also complete regular outreach and educational duties in schools.
  5. Emergency Call Agent: When you call 111 in New Zealand, you are put through to an Emergency Call Agent or Dispatcher, who will ask you the right questions to determine your situation and get the right emergency professionals out to you. They are trained to be calm and precise and gather information as quickly and accurately as possible while supporting the individual on the line. In some instances, they may also offer preliminary advice and guidance on handling an emergency to civilians while the emergency team is on their way.
  6. Emergency Search & Rescue Pilot: Helicopters are a vital part of emergency service provision thanks to their speed and agility to attend to emergency sites that are rural or harder to reach on land. From the long stretches of New Zealands coast to mountains or vehicle accidents that have happened in regional areas where a helicopter can get an individual to the nearest hospital in half the time of an ambulance – search and rescue pilots help other emergency staff get to where they’re most needed quickly and safely.
  7. Emergency Management Specialist: Emergency management specialists handle large-scale emergencies, such as bushfires or floods, that can impact entire communities. They work to develop and coordinate ongoing management plans, liaising with emergency teams and professionals to de-escalate emergencies as quickly as possible. These people may also liaise with communities and families to get them the support they need, as well as speak with local government and media to keep everyone up to date on the situation.

What Skills & Attributes Do You Need to Work in Emergency Services?

Working in emergency services can be demanding, challenging and stressful. While there will undoubtedly be many rewarding moments, these roles are known for the high stress that comes with them.

If you think a role in emergency services could be for you, some of the skills and attributes to focus on include:

  • Exceptional communications skills
  • Strong leadership
  • Ability to stay calm and reassuring under pressure
  • High sense of responsibility and ownership
  • Ability to think quickly and adapt to changing circumstances
  • Strong decision-making and analytical skills to assess risks

Where to Find Out More

Keen to learn more about career pathways into emergency services and what the industry’s overall outlook looks like?

Head over to our dedicated government and emergency services industry profile, where we cover even more roles in the sector, education pathways and how you can get started!


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