Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Author: Edward J. Gabriel, MPA, EMT-P, CEM, CBCP
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Published Date: 5/19/2017 4:04:00 PM
Category: Public Health Preparedness; Observances;
As a career-long paramedic and certified emergency manager, I’m very excited about the trends I see in EMS. This is a dynamic field. Over the last 50 years, the U.S. has made incredible progress in Emergency Medical Services – better known by the acronym EMS. EMS professionals built a strong system that’s always in service, available 24/7 in nearly every community across the country…and help is just a 3-digit call away. EMS professionals have driven dramatic changes in technology and prehospital medicine, professional education and the way emergency medical services are managed to improve public health and emergency medical care. What was envisioned originally as a system to respond to acute life-threatening emergencies has evolved so that it not only fills that original role but also has become an integral part of the U.S. health care system.
Always innovative, emergency medical services professionals are examining the role that mobile health care should play nationwide in providing better care and better patient outcomes cost-effectively. In many communities, EMS already plays a larger role in improving health beyond the tradition of resuscitation and delivering patients to the emergency department.
At ASPR, we’re proud to support EMS providers and recognize the necessity of that work in the health of the communities they serve. EMS personnel continually respond alongside other first responders to dangerous and unpredictable incidents. Better preparing our nation’s EMS personnel to be safe and succeed in those environments is key to the work we do at ASPR.
That’s why we bring an EMS perspective into everything we do. We know that the community can only respond with the systems it has in place when a disaster strikes, and we are committed to doing everything we can to be sure every aspect of the nation’s health care system is strong and ready. We craft guidance and tools for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery to help EMS professionals overcome the challenges created by daily crises, as well as large-scale disasters. We want to be sure that medical countermeasures – the drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics – we develop are practical in the field. We want every health care coalition in the country to include EMS in training and exercises. We encourage any EMS team that isn’t part of a health care coalition in your state to reach out to the state health department’s emergency preparedness director.
We’re also a proud supporter of the EMS 2050 project to reimagine the role EMS plays in the nation’s evolving health care system and how mobile health care resources can add value in every community. We encourage everyone in EMS to get involved and shape a bold future together.
One important aspect of EMS 2050 is addressing the long-term effect the demands of EMS professions have on people in this field. I’ve seen the work that EMS personnel do, and I know the extraordinary psychological and physical toll continual crisis response can take these professionals. We owe it to the unsung heroes of EMS to better meet their physical and behavioral health needs. One tool we recently developed to help EMS leaders and others is training called “psychological first aid for leaders.” With this training, leaders can help their workforce cope with the stress of crises.
We’re honored to be part of the evolution of EMS in America. While the history of our modern EMS system is a relatively short one, there is no shortage of people committed and passionate about advancing emergency medical services and patient care. EMS Strong: Always in Service
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