Although it’s something we should do year-round, we’re coming up on an especially notable time to say “thank you” to EMS workers.
May 15 to 21 will mark the 47th annual National EMS Week. Started in 1974, it is meant to celebrate the work EMS practitioners perform in communities throughout the country — and that’s a celebration we certainly welcome.
While most of the attention in EMS jobs is placed on patient care, understandably, it’s also important for EMS workers to recognize and care for their own health and safety, so they can be in the best condition to perform. See below for tips provided in our blogs over the years for a refresher on how EMS personnel can look after themselves:
EMS workers never know what their day will hold, with each shift bringing the possibility of something new — and dangerous. Optimizing pre-shift workflows helps EMS workers prepare for various scenarios, prevent on-the-job injuries, improve immunological defense and ensure a longer, safer career.
Based on a study by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American Council on Exercise, the two organizations came up with some recommended steps for improving health among EMS practitioners (see the article linked above for more):
- Improve job-related physical capacity
- Adopt regular physical ability assessments that gauge waist circumference, standing posture, core function, stability and mobility
- Follow general exercise guidelines that focus on flexibility, upper-body strength and improved mobility
While it’s important to focus on the medical emergency at hand when transporting a patient via ambulance, attention should also be placed on the safety of EMS personnel. With the vehicle fatality rate of first responders sitting at almost five times the national average, ambulance safety requires proactive steps to minimize risk in the event of a crash.
The article linked above explains the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers safety standards, how they apply to ambulances and the role they play in minimizing risk during a crash. Pay special attention to the note on security equipment and check out SSCOR’s mount options.
Due to the sometimes dangerous and demanding job conditions, EMS workers have an injury rate higher than the general workforce, with the four most common types of injuries suffered being:
- Body motion injuries
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Slips, trips and falls
- Motor vehicle accidents
Check out the article linked above to learn about preventative measures that reduce the risk for each type of injury.
Being an EMS worker can be an extremely rewarding job, but it can also be dangerous and physically demanding. It’s important to place the proper attention on your own health so you can enjoy a long and fulfilling career that’s free of injury. Staying up to date with the SSCOR blog and especially current safety guidelines and recommendations are effective ways to prolong your career and remain physically healthy.
Once again, we offer a big thanks to our EMS partners ahead of National EMS Week — and during every other week of the year, too. We hope our portable suction solutions play a role in making your job easier and we’ll continue to develop the tools you need to succeed.