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Free Character Writing Prompts #34:
Emergency Workers

Here are some character writing prompts that are extremely hard working and important on the subject of emergency workers. While emergency workers have always been in the background of medical shows like "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy," it's refreshing when they're brought to the forefront in works like Martin Scorcese's Bringing Out the Dead. It's amazing to think of the fact that there are thousands of paramedics, firefighters and other first responders that are on call throughout the world trying to save people from certain death. There is heartache and pain for the people in this position, but there are also joyous emotions from bringing someone back from the brink of death. Bring in a character from this category to add some morbid depth to your story. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #34: Emergency Workers

1. He decided to become a firefighter after he saw the dedicated hard work of those who'd come to the rescue of the 9/11 attacks. He was in a much smaller area than New York, but he knew he could make a difference if he was even half as brave as they were. The training was hard because he was overweight, but he trimmed down a bit from the work he put in. He made up for his lack of athleticism with his ability to take in all knowledge possible about fires, buildings and health. He saved fire victims and his peers on several occasions with the information he'd absorbed. Is the work he's doing living up to his dream of helping people and why?

2. If there was an unknown chemical substance in the field, he was the person who could identify it quickly and simply. He was a first responder as part of a hazmat team and whether it was powder in an envelope or an unmarked barrel in a basement, he was one of the best in the county. He'd always been interested in every minute detail in chemistry class and though he could have become a professor or some kind, he was always more interested in helping people directly. He kept so up to date on the news of chemicals and terrorism, his wife joked that he could barely carry a conversation without bringing terrorists into it in some way. What are some situations he's responded to and how have those situations affected his world view?

3. She had been an emergency medical technician for only a few months when she was called to one of the most gut-wrenching car accidents her city had ever faced. It felt like half the emergency workers in the city were there trying to save the lives of the people stuck within the massive pileup. She kept her cool throughout and unintentionally took a bit of a leadership role. She always said that growing up in a tough neighborhood taught her that keeping your cool meant keeping your life. Seeing so much life taken as she grew up made her want to save lives later on. How does she save people during the accident and what are some of her EMT experiences moving forward?

4. She had worked hard to become the first female firefighter at her station and she knew that to keep her position she'd need to train twice as hard and be twice as good. Since she was smaller and stronger than half of her peers, she was able to get into tight spaces they normally couldn't, which had led to several saved lives over the few years she'd been there. She was single and actively dating and most men were turned on by the firefighter thing. Those were the men she quickly dispensed of. She wasn't some stripper firewoman, she thought and pressed onward. Why was she so determined to be a firefighter and what wills he look for in a partner?

5. He just wasn't sure if he could handle all of the lost causes anymore. Sure, most of the time the people his team of paramedics would encounter simply needed a trip to the hospital to be bandaged up. It was those who had already passed away or those who were obviously too far gone that got to him. Maybe it's because he cared that he was so good. He hated giving up and on several occasions he felt like he had snatched people from the imminent grasp of death. Those who he hadn't saved gave him nightmares. Will he continue on in the job or will his demons get the best of him?

6. In case of a city wide emergency like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster, he was in charge of coordinating all of the departments. He was a small man with a powerful voice and people gave him respect when they knew his accomplishments. He'd been awarded several medals for working with the Armed Forces and when he left the service, he moved up the ranks of emergency management and was said to have saved the lives of thousands by acting quickly during the bombing of a large office building. He made sure every department was up to speed with frequent inspections and tests and kept his red notebook at the ready with all his extreme emergency plans. What would he have to do for something like a major earthquake and how did he become such a strong leader in his field?

7. When the epidemic began, she was one of the first on the scene, setting up quarantine areas and working around the clock to determine the disease. She was the head epidemiologist for the region and she would have to work quickly as the symptoms were spreading. People were passing out left and right from the airborne disease and the radius of the illness was tough to determine. After losing a childhood friend to a tropical disease when on a college abroad trip, she knew that stopping diseases in their tracks would be her calling. This disease was unlike anything she'd ever seen, but this was what she was born to do. Will she be able to stop the disease from spreading and how?

8. She came to people in one of the most difficult times of their lives and she did her best to get them the help they needed. As an employee of the Red Cross, she would assess damages from fires and accidents and determine how much financial support the organization could provide to these families and individuals. She had numbed a bit to the fear and pain of people who had lost everything and a several day per week bar hopping routine helped with that numbing. She frequently thought about what she would do if she lost her possessions and grew extremely depressed. How has she reacted to some of the situations she's seen and will she able to be snap out of her emotional funk?

9. He was a park ranger who had received special emergency certification to be the best ranger he could be. After all, due to the many hunting and boating accidents that occurred under his watch, he figured it was best to be prepared. He had always been interested in nature from the time he was a young boy and knew that taking care of the forest would be involved in whatever he did. His training has come in handy so far as he even was able to treat a woman with injuries from a bear attack, which she survived from due to his help. What are three of the things he loves about the forest and would he ever lose his cool in an emergency situation?

10. As a school nurse, she decided to be as prepared as possible in a violent world by becoming first responder emergency certified. Nursing was her second career and she was happy to be back in the school her children went to, though things had changed. The school now had medical detectors and the police department on speed dial. When she heard about the casualties a few years earlier at the school from gang violence, she knew that she had to do something to help. She went from housewife to nurse and when the chemistry laboratory disaster occurred, she was the first on the scene and was happy to do so. How will she handle herself as the accident unfolds and what do her children think of her new career? 

Did you enjoy these character writing prompts? Keep an eye out for the book 1,000 Character Writing Prompts in late 2011. 

Done with Character Writing Prompts about Emergency Workers? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts.

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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