Get Ready to Recognize and Honor EMS in Your Community
Now more than ever, it’s important to acknowledge all of your team members and educate your community about the valuable role that EMS plays. And there’s no better time to accomplish these goals than EMS Week.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO HONOR, ENGAGE AND CELEBRATE
In 2020, people relied on technology to connect and communicate more than ever. Agencies used social media as a way to publicize EMS Week and honor providers. Whether we are gathering in-person or continuing to social distance, social media is a great way to engage with each other, the community and policymakers. Consider using social media campaigns—with the hashtags #emsweek, #thisisems and #emsstrong—to help accomplish your EMS Week goals.
ASK GOVERNMENT LEADERS TO GET INVOLVED
A proclamation makes it official! Start now by asking your local, regional and state government officials to issue a proclamation for EMS Week. A proclamation is just a formal public statement, but it serves as an effective way to get attention for EMS Week. It reminds public officials and the entire community about the vital role of EMS. A proclamation also generates media attention.
How do you ask a government official to sign a proclamation? Start by planning ahead and identifying the right person in government (having an inside contact is helpful). Find out if your government contact has a standard proclamation that you can use (or if you need to draft one yourself). Need a sample? You can find the ACEP EMS Week proclamation here: https://www.acep.org/administration/ems-resources/emsweek/resources/. Finally, arrange a formal signing ceremony with the government official.
ALERT THE LOCAL NEWS MEDIA
Make sure to tell all local newspapers, television stations, community websites and radio stations about EMS Week. In addition to a proclamation, a press release is a great way to draw attention to EMS Week happenings.
Personal invites to reporters also go a long way. Now is the time to take advantage of relationships with reporters or other contacts and talk to them about EMS Week and, depending on safety protocols, invite them to do a ride-along, attend a training session or cover a specific event.
These EMS Week-related events make for great media coverage:
- Proclamation signings
- Award ceremonies involving public officials or EMS professionals
- Community education events
- Survivor celebrations
- Recreational activities
- Hospital-sponsored events
COORDINATE WITH HOSPITALS AND OTHER AGENCIES
Make sure to start early to coordinate special events where EMS team members have an opportunity to bond with co-workers, hospital staff or other stakeholders. Start today by making a plan with hospitals, fire departments, EMS agencies and associations. Put together a schedule that includes a mix of fun, recognition, educational programs and community outreach. Keep in mind local and regional guidelines related to COVID-19 and plan some virtual as well as in-person events that can accommodate social distancing and other safety protocols. Make sure your EMTs and paramedics are not burdened with too much extra work surrounding these events—especially without recognition or compensation.
TAKE TIME FOR COMMUNITY EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
One of the biggest goals of EMS Week is to educate the public about prehospital medicine and the services provided by EMS. EMS Week is an ideal time to explain how EMS services operate within your community, as many people don’t understand the various roles of different organizations, or they might assume EMS in their town works just like EMS on their favorite TV show. Take the time to educate the public about how the system works—its governance, funding, personnel and services. Focus on the people as well, explaining how every individual—from bystanders and emergency telecommunicators to paramedics and clinicians in the hospital—play a key role in achieving optimal outcomes.
EMS Week is also about making community connections through outreach programs such as stroke and chest pain awareness, CPR training, stop-the-bleed campaigns, injury prevention or bicycle and water safety. You can take advantage of programs that are fully established and ready to implement. It’s also a good time to educate citizens about 911; the ongoing efforts to train, recruit and retain EMTs and paramedics; and the various tools and technologies used to treat patients. If current COVID-19 restrictions prevent you from holding in-person community events, opt for online education courses, virtual tours or social media campaigns.
CELEBRATE YOUR EMS PROFESSIONALS
Remember that honoring EMS personnel means more than putting out a tray of donuts. While hosting a meal can be part of EMS Week, it’s also about leaders taking extra steps to recognize employees, volunteers and partners. It’s also your chance to celebrate with thousands of your peers in communities across the country. Promoting camaraderie and providing staff recognition leads to improved productivity and morale. However you choose to celebrate, the key is providing team members with an opportunity to relax and bond with co-workers, hospital staff and executives. Using EMS Week as a time to reunite clinicians with patients who survived cardiac arrest, major trauma or other serious events is another way to remind the community—and your organization—that EMS matters.