5 ways to bring a culture of celebration to your EMS agency
Regardless of size or service model, here are a few ways your department can honor its employees throughout the year
By Greg Friese
I was honored to attend two retirement receptions this spring, which got me thinking: There is not enough ceremony and celebration in EMS.
The first ceremony I attended was for Captain Kathy Bruss of the Milwaukee Fire Department. A few weeks later I joined friends, colleagues, and family to celebrate Battalion Chief-Training Bill Toon’s 20-year career with Johnson County Med-Act.
While it was great to recognize them both for years of service, it also made me realize that what little celebration there is often comes only at the end of a career — which is hopefully punctuated by happiness and good health.
EMS Week presents an opportunity to do more. From May 18 – 24, EMS organizations, regardless of their size or service model can celebrate their members in ways both large and small. Here are a few suggestions of how your department can get involved.
It can be a simple Facebook update, blog post, press release, or all three. You can also consider offering a small gift like a pin, plaque, or challenge coin as a token of appreciation.
Honor career milestones
You can also give a meaningful and higher-value gift at significant career milestones. The intent of gifts might be as a reminder of why an EMT entered the profession or to reinforce that personal fitness is essential for safety and longevity or to encourage lifelong learning and professional development. For instance:
- Year 1: A copy of an EMS book or resource to improve education and training
- Year 5: A useful piece of equipment or technology
- Year 10: An all-expenses paid trip to an EMS tradeshow
Celebrate department accomplishments year-round
There are plenty opportunities to celebrate throughout the year, from the delivery of a new ambulance or response vehicle, to meeting a quarterly quality assurance or injury prevention goal. Other events, milestones, accomplishments, or acquisitions worthy of gathering colleagues, friends, and family include:
- Training all members on a new piece of equipment, protocol or certification.
- Reaching the 100th, 1,000th or 10,000th call of the year.
- Setting a new organization record for the most calls responded to in a day.
Reunite to celebrate positive patient outcomes
Reuniting cardiac arrest survivors and their families with the EMS workers involved in the resuscitation is a great way to personalize the life-saving work we do.
The same holds true for babies delivered in the field. Hosting a one-year birthday party for the infant and their parents, and the personnel who assisted with the delivery, can be a fun and invigorating event. Celebrate again when that child graduates from high school.
Too often, we forget to focus on the positive in EMS. Making it a point to do so can raise morale, and creates a happy working environment that everyone can benefit from.
Do you have other ideas? Add your organization’s celebrations and ceremonies in the comments.