As an EMS provider, one of the ways in which you can have the most impact on your community is educating the public about illness and injury prevention. Follow these simple steps to assess your community's specific needs:
- Step 1: Are Injuries a Problem? Evaluate your community's specific injuries and illnesses to determine core problems. Evaluate call volumes and the nature of injury/illness to see where your community trends. If you're seeing heavy cardiac and respiratory outcomes, educate your community on healthy living and smoking cessation, while providing defibrillator and CPR education.
- Step 2: What Are the Injury or Illness Risk Factors? In order to understand the direction of your prevention program, you must understand the causes of your target injuries and illnesses. If you notice specific instances of motor vehicle accidents in the younger demographic, consider education-based driver-safety programs, sober-driver initiatives and teaming up with the MADD or SADD organizations in your area.
- Step 3: Implementation. Plan out the steps needed to reach your goal, find needed funding and implement the plan. Tap into local financial sources, foundations and civic groups for financial backing, as well as to generate support for your cause. Then get to it.
- Step 4: Monitor and Reevaluate. Start small, plan and implement your program, and continue to re-evaluate the end result. Even the smallest programs have some effect on your customer base and are worth taking the next steps. Let's walk together as an industry into a new endeavor and show our communities new ways to avoid personal medical catastrophes.
Reach out to special populations
Unique groups have unique needs. Children certainly do, and represent a great way to win parents' hearts. What's hurting or endangering kids in your community? Find a cause you and your organization can champion. Pediatric drownings could prompt a campaign about pool safety. Older kids may benefit from lectures about drunk driving or drugs. Babysitters can use basic emergency education. Bike helmets and seat belts are familiar favorites to promote.
Geriatrics are another vulnerable group that can benefit from focused attention. On calls, can you spare a moment in their homes to check their medication compliance or warn them about trip hazards? Is there a local senior or social-service organization you could team with to start a program of welfare checks, medical follow-ups or other proactive interventions? Can you help them arrange or get to primary care, so they don't have to call 9-1-1 for routine matters? Seniors often have unmet needs EMS can help address.
Think about whom the special needs groups are in your community (handicapped, low income, non-English speakers, etc.) and with whom you could partner to reach them.
One of the ways in which your EMS agency can have the most impact in your community is by educating the public about illness and injury prevention. Below is a listing of resources to help you develop local prevention programs in your community.
When to Call 911
CMS Presentation: Understanding the Affordable Care Act CPR & PAD Programs:
American Heart Association
University of Washington School of Medicine
PAD program overview, American Heart Association
On-site AED programs, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
Injury Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Toddler Safety, Children’s National Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Coalition
Injury and Violence Protection, National Conference of State Legislatures
"Fast Facts" Sheets and Safety Tips, The ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation
Family Safety Tips, American College of Emergency Physicians Foundation Elder Safety:
Administration on Aging Assisted Living and Senior Safety, Assisted Living Way
Fall Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Top Tips for Senior Fall Prevention
American Red Cross
Babysitter Training, Safe Sitter Pediatric Heatstroke Prevention Pool Safety/Drowning Prevention:
Pool Safely, Consumer Product Safety Commission
Pool Safety for Children, American Academy of Pediatrics
Pool Safety Council
Water-Related Injuries, CDC