Earth Day: Do the simple things first for a greener EMS operation

Updated October 1, 2015

Any EMS agency can strive towards a greener and more efficient operation

A lot has changed since I first learned about Earth Day in 1989. Recycling is now common in most organizations and communities, compact fluorescent light bulbs are widely available, and “green” is now a marketing buzzword.

How has your EMS organization incorporated green practices in its operations and patient care? Where do you have opportunities for improvement? Start making your organization more green by doing these simple things:

  • Make recycling containers for paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans readily available in your stations and office areas. Regularly emptying these containers will help encourage their use.
  • Replace light bulbs where you can with compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Use auto-on and auto-off motion sensing light switches in garages and day rooms to reduce electricity use.
  • Wash ambulances and other vehicles with cold water. Only wash vehicles when needed.
  • Turn off the TV and room lights when you leave for a call.
  • Adjust the heat in the apparatus bay to the minimum temperature needed for temperature sensitive items like medications.
  • Develop and follow an organization policy for reducing engine idling at stations, posting locations, incidents, and receiving facilities.

Your organization can use the money saved from implementing these simple tips in many much-needed areas.

Organize a “Green Workplace” committee with representatives from management, communications, billing and field operations. Task the committee with improving green practices, employee education, and promoting its accomplishments.

Do you have any statistics you can share with us about fuel, electricity, water, and waste removal savings derived from your organization’s green efforts?

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at

  1. Tags
  2. EMS Management
  3. EMS Training

Join the discussion

logo for print