Every EMS agency needs to earn recognition

Regular donations of time, treasure, and talent should become the norm for EMS agencies


My heart and thoughts were with Boston EMS yesterday.

Two years ago I crossed the Boston Marathon finish line, collected my belongings, snapped a picture of a Boston EMS ambulance before leaving the runner only restricted area, and had just entered the family meeting area when I heard the first explosion. And the second explosion a few seconds later.

That afternoon, two of the communities of which I am proud to belong – paramedics and runners – were at their finest caring for the injured. Every patient that made it to a hospital survived.

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Two years later EMS providers continue to be recognized for their efforts, not just that day, but every day. Yesterday volunteers remodeled a Boston EMS station as part of One Boston Day, an effort to mark the resiliency, generosity, and strength of the people in the community. We should all be grateful for the community recognition and the donation of time and treasure to remodel this workplace.

My gratitude is tempered with the thought of a troubling paradox that needs to be acknowledged. EMS stations in many communities are slipping into decline. Old furniture likely donated from someone's basement, second-hand televisions, poor lighting and walls with peeling paint are not unique to Boston. Does your station need a donated Lowe's remodel?

In the video paramedic Gregory Bond gives a spot-on comment. He says "Instead of looking backwards we need to concentrate on the future and how we're going to make Boston even stronger than we were two years ago."

What is the future for your EMS service? What are you going to do to make it even stronger?

Every agency needs to regularly and frequently tell compelling stories about its importance to the community, explain how the agency and its personnel are prepared for disasters, and request the resources required to provide responses that will be praised and recognized.  

In Boston, Lowe's volunteers have agreed to update an EMS station once a month. The EMS service in every community should be worthy of a monthly time, talent, and treasure contribution from its neighbors and policy makers.

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