Surviving Field Stress for First Responders


Surviving Field Stress for First Responders is a continuing-education, video web stream course designed to help first responders and those they assist to be prepared for the stressors of twenty-first century disasters.

Who is this course for?

The target audience for this course is first responders, fire paramedics, police and health-care providers as well as federal, state, and local public health and emergency management officials who may respond to disaster events.

What are the objectives of this course?

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe psychological stress
  • Explain common causes of stress
  • Describe the mental and physical health effects of excessive stress
  • Describe the social, physical, and emotional causes of first responders stress
  • Identify methods to cope with field related stress
  • Identify strategies for assisting members of the public (adults and children) with disaster-related stress

What is this course about?

First responders to a traumatic emergency event apply their public safety and medical expertise under incredibly stressful conditions. This course was designed to prepare first responder to deals with the physical, emotional, and mental stressors they face when called to a technological and natural disaster. It gives practical coping strategies and resources for dealing with stress.

How to take this course?

The course consists of a two hour webcast. You can view the webcast straight through for its entire length or you can watch it in sections. The webcast has seven segments that can be viewed separately at your leisure but all seven segments must be viewed in order to apply for continuing education credits.

Also, there are supporting course materials that are not required for the course but are there for extra information if you are interested. These extra materials include the slides embedded in the webcast, a transcript of the webcast, and a reference manual with extra information on topics covered in the webcast.

Webcast Segments
Webcast Segments [Completion Time]
Introduction [WMV – 7.4 MB] [7.36 minutes]
Segment 1-What is Stress [WMV – 15 MB] [15.34 minutes]
Segment 2- Stressors Affecting Disaster Responders [WMV – 31.6 MB] [32.27 minutes]
Segment 3- Managing First Responder Stress [WMV – 27 MB] [28.02 minutes]
Segment 4- Helping the Public During a Disaster [WMV – 16.5 MB] [17.02 minutes]
Questions [WMV – 12.6 MB] [12.55 minutes]

How much time should I schedule to take the course?

The course will take approximately two hours.

Who developed this course?

This course is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was developed in conjunction with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine (ATSDR/DTEM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Environmental Health (CDC/NCEH), and the Public Health Training Network (PHTN).

Presenters include:

  • Pamela G. Tucker, MD, Medical Officer, DTEM, CDC/ATSDR
  • Scott V. Wright, M.S., EMT-P, Emergency Response Coordinator, DTEM, CDC/ATSDR
  • James R. MacDonald, M.S., On-Scene Coordinator, Emergency Response Region 7, EPA

CDC/ATSDR Author(s):

  • Pamela G. Tucker, MD

CDC/ATSDR Planners:

  • Charlton Coles, Ph.D.
  • Sharon L. Hall, Ph.D.
  • Barbara M. Riley, RN
  • Delene Roberts, MSA
  • Jan Schubert
  • Oscar Tarrago, MD, MPH, CHES
  • Pam Tucker, MD

Medical Disclaimer

The medical information provided in these courses is for educational use only.
For more information on product limitation, please see the full disclaimer.

Contact Information

For additional information about Environmental Medicine Education Products, please email