Federal Park Rangers and On the Job Injuries
The Great Outdoors Can Be a Dangerous Place for National Park Rangers
For many people, the job of a federal forest ranger sounds idyllic. Your "office" is the great outdoors, amid wondrous mountains, lush greenery, flowing waters. But, the job of federal forest ranger (also referred to as park ranger) is also among the most hazardous in the nation.
These men and women who work at parks, preserves, historical sites and monuments are trained to help visitors with injuries or illnesses, but often they are the ones who need medical treatment. Consider the following hazards they face.
Fires not only threaten the park's natural resources, but also visitors and park personnel. Rangers keep constant vigil for signs of fire and respond immediately if and when the need arises. In addition, they coordinate efforts of fire department personnel. Though they have the proper equipment and training to help fight a blaze, fires can be unpredictable, and life-threatening.
According to the New York Times, the National Park Service has urged all rangers to wear bulletproof vests because crime has become problematic throughout the park system. "Fighting, stealing, killing—we get it all," Grand Canyon Park Ranger Paul Crawford told the Times. Though relatively speaking, the number of crimes that occur compared to the number of visitors to the park is small, it only takes one incident to cause harm, injury or even death to a park ranger.
Search and Rescue
When visitors get lost, it is the job of the ranger to either ensure their safe return or coordinate rescue efforts. This usually entails the need to venture into treacherous territory, which places the ranger at risk—falls, encounters with dangerous wildlife or exposure to the elements.
Predators abound in the wilderness—mountain lions, wolves, grizzly and black bears, elk, bison…. Whether a ranger encounters such a creature while performing his or her regular job duties or is helping an injured animal, wildlife pose a definite threat. Even a normally peaceful animal may attack if it's in pain.
This category runs the gamut from one extreme to the other. Sometimes rangers work in remote areas with no or very little means of communication. This can create a great deal of stress and danger should the ranger be injured, ill or need to subdue violent people. The isolation can drastically hamper the arrival of help, thus worsening the problem. On the other hand, as national parks become increasingly popular rangers struggle with the stress of overcrowding that creates congestion, entrance delays and parking nightmares. This leads to unhappy visitors who oftentimes take out their frustration on the rangers.
The country's national parks and monuments are treasures that have thrilled, educated and inspired generations of visitors. When the men and women who work as park rangers from Guam to Main, the Virgin Islands to Alaska are injured on the job, it is vital that they understand all of the benefits to which they are entitled according to the Federal Employee's Compensation Act programs.
Park rangers need an experienced, knowledgeable Federal Workers' Compensation attorney on their side to ensure their rights are upheld.