Conflict Resolution Training for First Responders

First responders have a tough job. EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel have to put themselves in potentially dangerous situations on a regular basis, putting their health and safety on the line each time. 

Because emergency situations can be so intense and stressful, they often lead to secondary issues, such as conflicts among victims. When conflict arises in an emergency, first responders need to know how to diffuse the situation for the safety of everyone involved. Otherwise, these conflicts can worsen the outcome and potentially put a responder’s life in danger.

Fortunately, managing conflict doesn’t have to be a challenge. With comprehensive conflict resolution training, first responders can assess and mitigate dangerous situations, leading to better outcomes. 

Resolve Conflict Resolution Training offers the best strategies to ensure your first response team can handle any situation that comes their way. No matter how intense or stressful the emergency is, our course will prepare the team for success.  

What is Conflict Resolution Training for First Responders?

It’s important to understand that conflict resolution training must be customized to fit the industry. For example, a course designed for first responders will be much different than one meant for office workers. 

The reason for these differences is that attendees need to know how to address conflicts they will realistically encounter. In the office, these conflicts can be verbal arguments between co-workers. In an emergency situation, conflicts can involve physical altercations, including those with weapons (i.e., a knife or a gun). 

So, it’s imperative for first responders to know how the right strategies to maintain control and steer the situation in a more positive direction. There are two primary types of conflict resolution – verbal and physical. 

Resolve focuses more on verbal de-escalation training, but it’s still vital for responders to know how to physically restrain individuals during an emergency. Here’s a quick overview of what these types of conflict resolution involve: 

Verbal De-Escalation Training

Many conflicts start off as verbal arguments or disagreements. Typically, a verbal conflict can escalate if left unchecked, so it’s important for a response team to recognize the warning signs immediately. 

It’s also worth noting that verbal conflicts don’t always involve shouting and elevated voices. In some cases, a single comment could spark a reaction. However, in almost all cases, individuals will telegraph their intentions with physical actions. 

As such, trained first responders must know how to spot those physical signs and intervene as necessary. Ideally, dealing with verbal conflict only requires a verbal response. However, employees may have to focus on physical restraint, even before an altercation breaks out. 

Physical De-Escalation Training

When police, EMTs, or firefighters respond to an emergency, they may or may not know the circumstances of what’s happening. In some cases, the emergency may be a result of someone’s actions (i.e., a shooting). In other instances, it could have started because of environmental factors (i.e., a fire). 

Physical de-escalation training involves knowing how to restrain and potentially disarm an assailant for the safety of everyone around. This kind of training is highly specialized and requires a lot of patience and experience. Not all first responders will undergo this type of training as a result, opting for verbal de-escalation and body language instead. 

Why is Conflict Resolution Training So Valuable for First Responders?

First responders are on the front lines of emergencies, helping crews and teams assist as many people as possible. Targeted conflict resolution strategies can help these workers in several ways, such as: 

Help Facilitate Emergency Treatments

The techniques learned in conflict resolution training don’t have to be used exclusively in conflicts. In many cases, positive language and calm verbal cues can alleviate stress and tension, even if no one is engaged in conflict. 

For example, if someone is wounded, they may go into shock or hyperventilate. In practice, a trained first responder can talk to the person and help them calm down and regulate their breathing. 

Overall, the development of these skills can assist first responders and make them better assets for their community. Without awareness of these techniques, a worker may wind up exacerbating a situation and making it more dangerous. 

Makes First Response Budget More Cost-Effective

As a rule, conflict breeds catastrophe, which can be quite costly during an emergency. In extreme cases, a mild situation may escalate into something deadly or destructive if a conflict arises. 

So, having workers take a training course can help maximize the value that each person brings to the situation. Now, they’re no longer just treating patients or individuals with injuries. Instead, they can recognize the signs of conflict and use their skills to de-escalate the situation. 

Better Care

Emergency services are not just designed to fix major problems like injuries and property destruction. Bedside manner still counts for a lot, especially in a high-stress situation where lives may be at stake. 

Conflict resolution can allow responders to focus on individuals and their emotions. When everyone is calm, the entire situation can feel controlled and manageable. 

What are the Four Elements of Conflict Resolution Training? 

Although conflict resolution training is highly specialized for first responders, the training still incorporates many of the same skills and coaching you’d find in a regular training course. 

Understanding the four pillars of conflict resolution can help you facilitate better skill development among your employees. So, here’s a breakdown of these elements and why they’re valuable to this training. 


Because the primary goal of conflict resolution is to avoid violence and risky situations, it’s imperative for students to learn how to empathize with others. This skill basically allows someone to see from the viewpoint of another person. 

By understanding how and why someone is acting a certain way, first responders can adapt their techniques accordingly. For example, perhaps a person is agitated because of a medication imbalance. Alternatively, their aggression may be caused by stress or could be a result of multiple triggers that occurred before the emergency situation. 


Snap judgments can often lead to conflict, especially if they cause disrespectful behavior. Everyone within a community has a story, and it’s up to first responders to understand those backgrounds and how they affect the current situation. 

Also, when it comes to conflicts, it’s never a good idea to assume that one person is the aggressor and another is the victim. Without knowing all the facts of the situation, it’s impossible for a first responder to address it correctly. 

Basically, this tenet implores students to approach each situation with an open mind and make judgments based on evidence, not personal biases. 

Active Listening

It’s not enough to just listen to someone talking – you have to show that you’re engaged with what they’re saying. During a conflict, people can become more agitated and aggressive if they feel belittled or ignored, especially if their words are important to them.

Active listening means showing that you hear and understand what the other person is saying. This skill also involves knowing when to respond and when to let the other person speak. 

Positive Communication

The words one uses can make a huge impact on how well a conflict gets resolved. Remember, not all conflicts involve shouting and aggressive body language. A single word or sentence could be enough to set someone off. 

So, it’s imperative for first responders to know how to talk to different people by using positive reinforcement and uplifting messaging. Otherwise, they could wind up escalating the situation, even unintentionally. 

Learn the Best Conflict Resolution Techniques From Us!

If you’re ready to see how Resolve Conflict Resolution training can help your first response team, contact us today. We offer comprehensive services that fit within your schedule and budget. 


Need your staff better equipped to handle conflict at work? Talk to our team today to learn how we can help!