Support your EMS agency by helping community residents and community leaders understand the role of EMS in your community’s health care, public safety, and disaster response systems.
Below are ideas to increase local public awareness about EMS:
Attend town hall meetings. Participation in these meetings not only allows you an opportunity to share your concerns with your elected leaders, it gives the members of your community an opportunity to also learn about the issues that are impacting EMS.Promote your EMS agency in your local paper.
Local papers are always looking for stories to include. So, work with your local newspaper to generate positive placements - stories about how local EMS practitioners save lives, challenges, successes.Work with local media:
Contact local newspapers and TV stations when you take delivery of new equipment that will benefit the community, raise funds for charity as a team, or when your service reaches a significant milestone of employee service or patient care. Even if you don’t have a big news story to report, offer to be a resource to health reporters who may be looking for a visual feature story that an ambulance ride-along or a reporter shadowing one of your crews can provide.
Be proactive in building local relationships.
Don’t wait for an emergency to get to know your local leaders. Introduce yourself and explain your role within the community. Once you build relationships with your local leaders, you can work to make sure they understand what it is you do and the EMS perspective on proposed policies and plans affecting our profession and the patients we serve.Host EMS Week events.
It's a great time to draw attention to your work in the community. Consider holding an open house and giving tours of your station to the public, or sponsoring blood pressure checks at a local mall or senior center. Draw attention to the work of your colleagues by recognizing outstanding EMS professionals in your community. Sponsor a public awareness campaign.
Work with local businesses to find ways to promote your agency and the important work you do. Talk to stores about placing flyers in bags for customers to take home with them, or put up posters in the windows of businesses that explain what EMS work is about. Contact schools and give tours of your station to children. Set up a speaker’s bureau:
Help improve recognition for your agency by explaining the specialized training that EMTs and paramedics receive and the equipment you use, such as AEDs or bariatric rigs. By getting the word out to schools, scout leaders, community groups and senior centers, you improve recognition for you and your agency.
Set up a Facebook page for your EMS agency.
Post information about the work of your agency and introduce the members of your squad to your community. Post public health and safety tips and resources. Invite your elected officials to participate on a ride-along.
The more you can engage your elected officials, the more they can relate to EMS.