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EMS Education Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Psychological First Aid

In many natural disasters and terrorism events, it is likely that many more people will be mentally affected than the actual number of physically injured patients. The "Psychological Footprint" is much larger than the "Medical Footprint."

As you probably know from your own experience, the mental stress of a serious incident can linger with you for hours, days, weeks, months, or years. Pre-, during, and post-incident stress management is as important as ever. Proactively managing your stress will help you be at your best for your partner, patients, friends, and family.

I am just beginning to hear and read about something called Psychological First Aid (PFA). Browse to the SAMHSA Web site for PFA first responder resources. Check out these resources from the Minnesota Psychological First Aid Training program to learn more:

• PFA Presentation for Local Health Departments

• PFA Pocket Card for Providers

• PFA Provider Self-Care Pocket Card

Also the National PFA Manual is a comprehensive resource.

Have you heard of PFA? Do EMS providers in your area have access to PFA? Should EMS providers screen for psychological injury during a disaster or terrorism incident? Use the comments area to tell us what you think.

About the author

Greg Friese 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
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