Public Safety Personnel Definition

Public safety personnel is a term you may well have heard many times, and yet its meaning is somewhat elusive. This is largely because the phrase refers to a broad spectrum of public service workers who specialize in many different areas.

As long as they are defending and maintaining the safety and security of the general public then they can be considered public service personnel.

These guys are the superheroes of the real world and their combined efforts and expertise help to keep us all more safe and secure.

What do we mean by Public Safety?

In the United States of America, the term public safety really relates to the policing and protection of the general public in local towns and cities. Public safety can be threatened at any time by natural and manmade disasters, crime, accidents, hazards and attacks.

Public Safety Departments take responsibility for overseeing the various departments and divisions that deal with these issues, and in some states a Department of Public Safety has personnel who are cross-trained in multiple areas.

On a national level, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for public safety. It protects America’s borders from external and foreign threats, and oversees the management and coordination of events during large scale attacks and disasters.

What do we mean by Public Safety Personnel?

The term Public Safety Personnel refers to all those working in the emergency services as first responders and specialist service providers, as well as any other public officials or employees responsible for maintaining and protecting public safety in the area.

The ‘personnel’ employed in public safety departments are the human beings responsible for protecting others from dangers, risks, threats, attacks, disasters, crime, accidents and emergencies. They serve their local communities and are highly trained in their area of expertise.

What are some examples of Public Service Personnel?

Public Service Personnel is a broad term that refers to many different individuals who specialize in many different areas of public safety.

In some states and cities, the public service personnel are cross-trained in multiple areas and we will speak in more detail about this later.

For now, here is a list of some key examples of public service personnel:

  • Law Enforcement Officers – the state and municipal police as well as Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff and all those working in the Sheriff’s department also fall into this category. These public safety personnel are responsible for keeping the peace, policing the streets, performing community outreach services and making arrests. As well as police officers, parole officers, corrections officers and probation officers are all public safety personnel.
  • Fire Fighters – fire fighters are public safety personnel who are specially trained in preventing and suppressing fires. They also deal with hazardous materials, chemical spills, flooding and other natural disasters. Fire officers also carry out lots of inspections of buildings and areas in order to ensure that public safety measures and standards are in place, and they perform educational and outreach programmes to raise fire safety awareness.
  • Emergency Medical Technicians – EMTs are specially trained and highly skilled medical personnel who are often the first people on sight after an accident or emergency has been reported. They have the licence to administer drugs and medications in order to alleviate pain and prevent further harm. They can give injections, tend to wounds and broken bones and also perform resuscitation and defibrillation when necessary. As well as arriving on  scene after an accident or emergency, emergency medical technicians can also be seen at large gatherings and events as a precautionary presence. Many companies and organisations will have an EMT on site as a permanent employee.
  • Ambulance Drivers – ambulance drivers tend to double up as EMTs and be trained in both areas. These public safety personnel work in pairs or teams to carry out their duties. Ambulance drivers have the skills to safely transport sick or injured individuals to hospital and negotiate traffic and stressful conditions as they do so. Ambulances will often be parked on site at large gatherings and events to provide a health and safety presence in case it should be needed.
  • Park Rangers – these public service personnel are responsible for protecting and maintaining the green spaces in their area for the benefit of their local community. They have the authority to ask people to leave premises when rules are being broken, and they are also on hand to aid and assist members of the public who may come into danger whilst out in nature. Park rangers carry out regular patrols of large areas of natural land and ensure that any potential hazards are dealt with. In the case of natural disasters like wildfires and floods, park rangers are often the first personnel on hand. Park rangers also keep an eye out for potentially dangerous wildlife, including bears, wolves and snakes.
  • Life Guards – These public safety personnel are responsible for keeping citizens and members of the public safe when they are near water. Whether they are patrolling stretches of coastline, lakes and rivers, or public beaches, lifeguards are trained to aid and rescue anyone who might enter into danger on shore or in the water. Lifeguards have the authority to remove people from areas that they are not meant to be in, and to cordon off areas that they deem to be dangerous. They are often trained in driving rescue boats and vessels, and they have EMT training so that they can deliver emergency medical care in the case of an emergency. Lifeguards are sometimes required to settle disputes and keep the beaches and lakeside resorts as well.
  • Mountain Rescue – In mountainous regions, mountain rescue professionals are responsible for patrolling the area and bringing any members of the public who might be in danger back to safety. They often have access to helicopters and specialist equipment to aid their work and have emergency medical training as well. Mountain rescue personnel tend to have climbing skills and also have the authority to stop members of the public from accessing dangerous and hazardous areas.
  • Communications and Dispatch Specialists – 911 call center workers are public safety personnel who are responsible for receiving emergency phone calls and dispatching the appropriate emergency services. They are the key line of communication between those in pain, danger or peril, and those who can help them. They are responsible for gathering information about accidents and emergencies to pass onto the appropriate people, and they must also make those on the other end of the line feel calm and supported while they wait for the emergency services to arrive.
  • Traffic / Transport Police – traffic and transport police are public safety personnel who specifically patrol and police public transport services and public roads. They have the authority to remove people from subways, trains and buses when there’s a problem, and they can stop motor vehicle drivers as well. They monitor road behavior, hand out speeding tickets and perform breathalyser tests when they suspect someone has been drinking. 

Administrative Public Safety Personnel

So far we have mainly discussed the active side of public safety, however, many public safety personnel perform administrative jobs. Those who oversee and draw up safety standards within the community are also vital to maintaining public safety.

Vehicle licensing and registration, firearm licensing and registration, and building regulations and inspections all also fall under the umbrella of public safety in most areas, and those who work in the departments are considered public safety personnel.