Make EMS Week a year round celebration
Instead of relegating celebration to a single week of May consider how to recognize the accomplishments of EMS providers and organizations all year long.
EMS week has always had two purposes. The first is to appreciate EMS providers. The second purpose is to improve public awareness of EMS contributions.
Like most recognition days, weeks, or months I believe EMS provider celebration and affirmation should be ongoing throughout the year and not set aside for just one day or week. Why should we confine our recognition to a set schedule?
1. Recognize anniversaries
Acknowledge members' length of service anniversary on the actual anniversary date.
2. Solicit patients and receiving facility staff for testimonial letters
Ask customers for testimonial letters about the service they received. Share the original letter with the patient care crew. Post a copy of the letter for all members to see. Post quotes from the letter on your organization blog and include really excellent customer quotes in your annual report.
Thank you notes for kindness and caring are great for morale.
3. Celebrate assessment and treatment accomplishments
Set attainable goals for the accomplishment of specific patient assessment and treatment techniques in one and three month increments. Review ePCRs to assess meeting these goals and recognize successful accomplishment at member meetings or by "all-staff" e-mails.
4. Party, party, party
Host regular social events for members. Quarterly or semi-annual has always felt about right to me.
5. Facebook page
Start a Facebook page or blog for your service. Write about your organization's successes – cardiac arrest saves, injury prevention programs, new employees completing training, employee length of service awards, new equipment, completion of special training, and grant awards won by your organization.
Make sure local news reporters know about your organization's successes, social channels, and blog. Invite local media to regularly cover your organization and it's successes.
6. Regular promotion of news and events
Submit monthly press releases — based on your blog posts — to local media. For EMS public relations timing is everything.
7. Get out and mingle
Participate in community events that will increase public awareness of your organization.
Finally, ASK members about the recognition they would like to receive. We all have different expectations and needs for recognition. An EMS Week gift might be adequate for some and totally inadequate for others.
Use the comments area below to share how your service celebrates EMS all year long.
This article, originally published May 20, 2009, has been updated