Many EMS services report difficulties attracting and retaining EMTs and paramedics. The rate of attrition varies across services, but there are several common factors including emotional and physical wellbeing. These factors contribute towards high voluntary EMS turnover.
Topics: EMS Health
Winter brings a thrilling, brisk feeling with a chill in the air and fresh coatings of snow and ice. Skiers rejoice as untouched white powder begins to coat the slopes and children dream of new snow creations, while daily commuters start to break out the shovel. Winter can mean different things to different people, but to emergency service personnel it will always mean a new round of winter accidents and new challenges in winter emergency care.
The annual flu season is just around the corner and as an EMT or paramedic you are more than likely to come in contact with someone who has the flu. This is especially true considering information released by the CDC shows a gradual increase that indicates the 2018-2019 season is almost upon us. It's time to get your flu shot if you haven't already done so, since you are the first line of infection prevention.
Infection prevention starts in the field with emergency care and trauma treatment. Emergency medical care typically brings you to patients in a less-than-sterile environment, with exposure to germs and bacteria that you cannot control. Fortunately, there are areas you that you can control too, such as wearing personal protective equipment and taking measures to protect the equipment you use daily, whether onsite or back at your transport unit.
According to the CDC, emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics experience significantly more injuries than the general workforce. A significant portion are lower back injuries as a result of lifting, moving and handling incapacitated patients.
Topics: EMS Health
The incidence of stress disorders among first responders is significantly higher than the national average. Our recent blog about EMS post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reveals that 34 percent of EMS personnel were diagnosed as suffering from PTSD at one time or other. This statistic is from a University of Phoenix survey of 2,000 paramedics, firefighters, police officers and nurses. This information supports earlier work from the National Center for PTSD that 33 percent of survivors from mass shooting incidents develop acute stress disorders (ASD).
Topics: EMS Health
The FBI recently reported that there were 30 active shooter incidents in the U.S. in 2017, up from 20 in 2016. These FBI statistics show that there's an upward trend in the number of incidents each year, with 2018 being no exception. Because the number and severity of these incidents are increasing, it's imperative you consider what to do if faced with an active shooter incident.
Shooting and mass casualties - it feels like it's becoming a "when", not "if", it could happen in your town. For Fire Chief Joe Pulvermacher, it has happened twice in his small community already. A man in a bulletproof vest outside Milwaukee, WI charged into a third-floor room at the Comfort Suites, shoots his girlfriend and three others before surrendering - two did not survive. A Sikh temple prepares for lunch, as a domestic terrorist walks through the doors, shooting indiscriminately, killing six and wounding three people across this 17,000 square foot facility.
Mass casualties equal mass victims. There never seems to be enough first responders to meet patient needs. While we cannot yet prevent these mass incidents, we can help prepare with the right training and equipment.
The CDC lists multiple natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and mudslides, volcanoes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and winter blizzards. Each of these events can have mass casualties with high numbers of wounded. Combine these natural incidents with man-made scenarios such as auto pile-ups, building collapses, terrorist bombings, and mass shootings and it's clear that emergency personnel must prepare for a myriad of scenarios.