President Trump has declared the week of May 19-25, 2019 National EMS Week. The theme for this year’s week is “EMS Strong: Beyond the Call.” Those words convey an incredibly powerful message about the EMS profession. EMS goes beyond the 911 call. Yes, EMS is about excellent patient care in an emergency, but it’s also so much more. It’s something that takes time, skill, practice, passion, and compassion far beyond the scope of a normal job. It’s a responsibility to care for your community and for your fellow responders that doesn’t end when your shift is over. Every day they provide highly skilled medical care, but they do more, they are a social worker, a problem solver, a liaison to their community, and sometimes most importantly, the shoulder we cry on in our worst moments. This year we are recognizing the continuously expanding breadth and scope of what they are providing and their importance as a valuable and equal responder group stakeholder.
Over the past 8 years, in concert with the changing face of healthcare, EMS has become an even more critical cog in the healthcare infrastructure of our communities. Regardless of service type (fire based, third service, private, hospital based, non-profit, etc.) EMS is presently the #2 (law enforcement is #1) reason for 911 activation in the United States. Today EMS providers are also part of specialized units like SWAT, technical rescue, and hazardous materials teams. As a nation, we are currently in the process of growing and incorporating our EMS provider’s roles in public health and community based manner. This involves using EMS to divert people from needing to use medical facilities and providing medical care in a more streamlined fashion at the home. These services will reduce the strain that growing numbers of hospitalizations are creating in our healthcare systems. This may significantly reduce cost and wait times for services as EMS will assist in the maintenance of the patient care, not just in the acute and transport realms. EMS has always been considered the eyes and ears of the Physician, even the term paramedic means “next to the Physician” when you use the Latin routes of the word. These community based healthcare programs or community paramedic programs, as they are commonly known, move EMS into the realm of other functions and Physician’s eyes and ears outside of the emergency world. In 2019 we will release NFPA 451; Guide for Community Health Care Programs. This document will help EMS Systems regardless of their service type with expanding their roles in the overall Health Care community. States and authorities having jurisdiction, may also find the guide useful in the creation of scope of practice models and new regulations
In just the past two years the NFPA has focused on providing more informed support and service to our responder stakeholders as a whole. Although many in law enforcement, 911 centers, and EMS aren’t necessarily as familiar with our efforts as the fire service is, the NFPA strives to make all responder’s safer and unified and has done so for many years. In just the last two we’ve increased our non-fire based EMS participation in technical committees by a factor of 10. In 2018 we released two new groundbreaking standards with the participation of the entire EMS community. Those were NFPA 2400; Standard for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations and NFPA 3000tm; Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program.
For EMS week 2019, The NFPA will post links to our different tools and resources, these provide information and knowledge that will help our EMS systems and providers. Each day of EMS has a theme and below are each day’s theme and resources the NFPA provides that fit that theme:
Monday – EMS Education Day – Check out our free Alternative Vehicle Safety Training for EMS Personnel and use your 30% discount for the NFPA 3000tm Active Shooter Hostile Event Response Program, Plan, Respond, Recover badging program!
Tuesday - EMS Safety Day – Create a free account and view safety standards that can help keep you safe in your job every day like NFPA 1999, NFPA 1500, and NFPA 3000tm
Wednesday - EMS for Children day – A little known fact is that the facility design and safety requirements for acute care pediatric centers are found in NFPA 99, create a free account and check it out today!
Thursday - Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed) – Our nation’s fire and EMS responders are key cogs in helping educate our communities. The NFPA supports these critical efforts in our community healthcare and community risk reduction standards and guides. Separately, with the recommendations in NFPA 3000tm, we are seeing more and more communities teach “Stop the Bleed” and have seen bleeding control kits spreading into the emergency planning for occupancies such as schools and airports (the picture I sent is from Nashville airport).
Friday – EMS Recognition Day – Today we celebrate you! Our nations EMS Providers no matter your method of service (volunteer, private, fire based, etc.) we thank you for what you do for our communities and each other every day. The NFPA also appreciates the efforts you make to improve and increase standards, your participation on technical committees, and you inputs and comments, are what drives our standards development process. (I recommend using the group pic with me in it)
Thank you for all that you do for our communities and for each other. The efforts of our EMS responders, in my opinion, are the backbone of what make our communities strong. The continued growth of the EMS role, the collaboration with other responder partners and Health Care community, and working with us at the NFPA to develop standards in order to support the profession is how we at the NFPA believe we support making EMS strong and we are stronger together at the call and beyond the call.