Idea Guide for EMS/EMT Week

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EMS Week is an important annual event during which we honor and celebrate those people on the front lines of medical services. First established in 1974 by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), this annual event celebrates first responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), paramedics and others who work in Emergency Medical Services. This yearís theme for the event is, ďEMS: Heroes For Life.Ē Hundreds of thousands of EMTs across the nation work every day to save lives and provide emergency care when every second counts. EMS workers deserve to be honored and celebrated! As an EMS provider or a community organization wishing to show your appreciation for emergency workers, check out our fun activities for celebrating these everyday heroes and promoting the work they do.

Host an Open House - Invite the public and media to tour your facilities, vehicles and equipment. People are keen on knowing what the inside of an ambulance or medical helicopter looks like, so make it fun. Donít forget to show them the lifesaving tools and equipment, too! Choose a theme for the open house to be used in promotions. You can use the current theme suggested by the ACEP or create one of your own. Partner with local businesses for food and prize donations. Invite politicians and community leaders to the event as well as the media. Finally, offer an incentive for the public to come out to the event, and give them a freebie when they leave. Free health screenings are a big hit with many agencies.

Throw a Website Launch Partys - If your agency doesnít yet have a website, EMS Week is the perfect time to have a website launch party, bearing in mind youíll need to have the website in place a couple of weeks before the event. Having a website makes your organization more credible, and it advertises for you year round. Besides providing information about your organization and how you can be contacted, include which communities you serve, which services you provide, recruitment information and a schedule of events. Serve pizza, burgers and hot dogs, plenty of drinks and family-friendly music for the event. This is also an excellent opportunity to offer first aid demonstrations.

Stage Demonstrations at the Local High Schools - Itís important for teens to know the importance of EMS, and staging demonstrations is an effective way to raise awareness among this demographic. The demonstration can be simple, like having a student pretend to choke. Proms are often held around this time, so a car accident scene discussing drunk driving can be particularly meaningful, too. This type of demonstration also provides your agency with an opportunity to work with local law enforcement. Consider working with senior students who will soon be graduating to provide dorm room first aid kits to take along to college in the fall. Our compact first aid kit is perfect for college undergraduates.

Bike Rodeo for Young Children - Young children need to be knowledgeable about EMS, too. A bike rodeo is a fun way to wrangle the kids and get them involved in the activity. Hand out bike helmets and elbow pads, if possible. Give a short presentation on bike safety. Hand out our EMS temporary tattoos to make them feel like real bikers, or give the children agency stickers to put on their bikes or helmets.

Ride Along and Recruitment Event - What better way to give the public a look at the life of an EMS worker than by offering a ride along for a day. This firsthand look often provides inspiration to volunteer or work in the profession. Pair this up with a recruitment event, and you may find several interested parties whoíll make great EMTs and paramedics.

Reach Out to Senior Citizens - The senior population needs emergency services more than any other demographic. Encourage your staff to visit nursing and retirement homes in the area to spend time with seniors. Team up with your local Council on Aging and similar organizations. Host fall prevention seminars. Teach seniors about ways to make their homes safer, especially in the bathroom and on stairs where falls and other types of injuries commonly occur.

Health Fair - A health fair is a wonderful opportunity for EMS to connect with the community. Itís also a great time to partner with other medical organizations in the local area to spread the word about emergency services and healthcare. Offer free blood pressure and health screenings to get people out. Have plenty of helpful literature on public safety as well as common health condition. Exhibits with images and information are most helpful, especially for things like injury prevention, childproofing your home and basic first aid treatment.

CPR and First Aid Training - Offer free CPR and First Aid training to people in the community. After all, EMS workers can always use a helping hand! If you do not have the staffing to provide it free, work on a low cost program. Childcare providers, lifeguards and other valuable community workers are usually in need of refresher courses.

BBQ for EMS Providers and Families - Wrap up EMS Week with a barbecue for providers and their families. While a formal dinner is nice, a barbecue or picnic allows everyone to let loose and spend time with his or her families while being recognized for their hard work. Make sure every worker is recognized in some way. Give out awards and prizes for achievement, dedication and care. Our tumblers, lunch bags and travel mugs are great for employees working long shifts in an ambulance. Kids will love cookies in the shape of ambulances and EMS coloring books to help them understand what emergency responders do on the job.

All of the these ideas have been used successfully by agencies for years to raise awareness for their organizations, provide services to the community and recognize invaluable EMT and EMS workers. In true, selfless fashion, not all of these activities are focused on EMS workers, but rather on helping others. Isnít that what the profession is all about?