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EMS Safety:  Everyone Goes Home

by Intermedix Staff on May 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM

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In keeping with the EMS Week EMS STRONG campaign theme, today’s emphasis by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is on safety! This focus is particularly close to me because of my professional history as an EMS educator and EMS Chief, where firefighter and patient safety was and is always paramount.

ACEP always provides lots of ideas and resources for EMS Week every year, far in advance of the actual week. If EMS Week snuck up on you, then set an event in your calendar today for next spring to check out the ACEP website as your primary resource for free planning guides and other great links. 

If you have not already planned events for today, you may feel it is too late to take advantage of this year’s Tuesday focus on safety; however, here are some brief ideas for you to consider even now:

Safety Time Outs

Common in all types of businesses with some level of activity risk, Safety Time Outs (STOs) are brief pauses before the start of an activity where an at-risk condition, practice or behavior may exist. They allow employees to quickly look at the situation to mitigate any concerns that anyone may have. STOs can also be called during an event to stop action if there is a concern, addressing an issue before it gets out of hand.

Some EMS practitioners may think there’s no time for STOs, but the opposite is true. If you take a time out to recheck the dosage of a medication before administration, that brief reflection may prevent a disastrous medication error, one which may be impossible to undo. Think of STOs as the practical application of shouting “clear” before defibrillating. Open your calendar now for planning time to integrate STOs into your practice for future training, protocols and documentation enhancements.

Safety Stand Down

This is the theme of an annual initiative by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC). It’s a reminder to take a break in your agency’s training routine (you have one, right?) to focus on topics of safety and health. The IAFC and NVFC have announced the 2017 Safety Stand Down for June 18-24. Take a moment today to plan an activity for this event. If you need any ideas or resources, check out Safety Stand Down’s website.

Safe + Sound Week

Promoted by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this event is based on the premise that a safe workplace is sound business. This promotes an opportunity to not only increase workplace safety, but also to engage your public constituents in an open safety event. This year is the inaugural event, and it is planned for June 12-18, 2017. For ideas and activities, go now to OSHA’s website to plan at least one action for this important week.

Integrating STOs into your everyday culture of safety, as well as participating in events such as EMS Week, the Safety Stand Down and Safe + Sound Week, provide all of us an opportunity to focus on two of our highest priorities in this profession:  provide safe and effective care for our patients and ensure we all go home at the end of the shift.

As a great friend and mentor of mine, Dr. Ed Racht, always says:  “Thank you for what you do and how you do it.” I echo those words today and wish you safe travel home at the end of your shift.

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This post was written by Intermedix Staff