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Introduction to psychological first aid for EMS providers

Updated September 6, 2016

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.” psychological first aid

As you probably know from your own experience, the mental or traumatic 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. Also check out information and resources from the Minnesota Psychological First Aid Training program to learn more:

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.

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.