Emergency Medical Services

Emergency Medical Services

One of the core risk factors for first responders is the pace of their work. First responders are always on the front line facing highly stressful and risky calls. This tempo can lead to an inability to integrate work experiences. For instance, according to a study, 69 percent of EMS professionals have never had enough time to recover between traumatic events. As a result, depression, stress and post-traumatic stress symptoms, suicidal ideation, and a host of other functional and relational conditions have been reported. Unmanaged, constant exposure to stress and adversity can impact relationships, cause health issues, affect safety at work, and even lead to post-traumatic stress and suicide. How prepared are you to manage physical, mental, and emotional strain? Begin by looking at the resources below:

What can I do to address stigma in my organization?

Building resilience helps individuals adapt and overcome the effects of stress and trauma associated with police work. It not only helps us move past these events in a healthier manner, but also gives us positive traumatic growth following the event. Creating a self-care plan helps individuals to improve their immunity, increase positive thinking and make us less susceptible to stress, depression, anxiety and other emotional health issues.

How can I reduce the effects of trauma in my employees?

  • How to Build Resilience
    • A brief explanation of what resilience is, the importance building resilience, and ways you can build it to create a healthier and less stressful life.

  • Fit for Duty: How to be a Resilient Responder
    • Being fit for duty does not always mean being physically fit. This article provides readers with ideas on how to be a resilient responder.

  • Self-care Toolkit
    • When faced with challenges, we can use either positive coping strategies or negative coping strategies. Use this step-by-step guide on creating a self-care plan that will help you practice positive coping strategies.

EMS personnel are at a greater risk for developing negative mental and physical health consequences including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal ideation and attempts. Studies have shown that when EMS workers’ physical and mental health issues go unaddressed, job performance decreases, decision-making abilities are impaired, and agency costs increase. In other words, everyone should be invested in maintaining emergency medical professionals’ wellness, because it has a direct impact on their ability to be effective.

How can I help my employees?

  • Resiliency Building Programs
    • Guide to Building an Effective EMS Wellness & Resiliency Program
      • This guide provides guidance for EMS services that includes: steps agencies can take to develop a culture of resilience and wellness, strategies for building resilience among EMS professionals, suggestions for specific programs and initiatives to support a healthy EMS workforce, tips from EMS agencies on what resilience and wellness initiatives worked for them, ideas for engaging community partners and stakeholders with supporting the wellness and resilience of EMS practitioners.

    • Resilience as a Department Cultural Initiative
      • Explains the importance of resilience as an organizational culture, role of intergroup communication to build resilience, major contributors to resilience, and also provides two robust resilience initiatives that have been implemented in other law enforcement departments, but can also be adapted for EMS organizations as well.

  • Vicarious Trauma Informed Organizations
    • Vicarious Trauma Toolkit for Organizations
      • Vicarious trauma toolkit (VTT) focuses on organizational responses to work-related exposure to trauma. While some resources in the toolkit may be useful to individuals, the VTT is intended to provide organizations with the tools they need to fulfill their responsibility to support staff and become more vicarious trauma-informed

    • Vicarious Trauma & EMS Services
      • The vicarious trauma toolkit includes tools and resources tailored specifically for emergency medical services to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for organizations to address the vicarious trauma needs of their staff.

  • Peer Support Program
    • Supporting Mental Health in First Responders: Overview of Peer Support Programs
      • Overview of peer support programs  for your department includes benefits and outcomes of peer support, components within a peer support program, the role, recruitment, and training of a peer support worker, and the challenges associated with implementing a peer support program.

    • Guidelines for the Practice and Training of Peer Support
      • Two sets of guidelines intended for policy makers, decision makers, and program leaders to provide direction about the practice of peer support are provided. We encourage prospective and practicing peer support workers to consider the set of guidelines as a roadmap for personal development, and we encourage administrators to consult the set of guidelines as they develop or enhance peer support programs within their organizations.

Post-Event Responses, such as critical incident stress debriefing, can help you get better. These sessions provide a chance to talk about the trauma with others who were involved. Start by searching the resources below.

Post-Event Response

Continuous training and education, beginning in the academy and reinforced throughout the organization, will reduce the negative consequences a traumatic event will have on your employees.

What can I do to learn more?

  • REBOOT Recovery Trauma Healing Course
    • REBOOT is a 12-week trauma healing course for those within the law enforcement, fire, EMS, emergency communications, hospital emergency departments, and corrections communities. In groups across the country, first responders and their families are healing, divorce rates are dropping, substance abuse is decreasing, and suicide numbers are being reduced.

  • First Responders Center for Excellence Trainings/Resources
    • Several resources and training options for Firefighters and EMS personnel.

  • First Watch Resiliency Building Webinar
    • Resilient professionals are relaxed, engaged, flexible and happy. In this webinar you’ll learn specific leadership strategies to build a resilient team from leading experts in the field.

  • Resilient Wisconsin Hidden Trauma Webinar
    • This exclusive training webcast for first responders from the Wisconsin Department of Health explores adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress, risk factors for trauma and stressors, signs of struggle, stigma, and resources for self-care.

  • Resilience Training Institute
    • Explore the many resilience training courses to help grow your staff’s personal, professional resilience and organizational resilience. Call us at 1-800-501-1245 to speak with one of our resilience training facilitators; we will conduct a needs assessment and suggest a resilience skills training program that’s right for your organization. Whether you’re considering a resilience training seminar, a Train-The-Trainer resilience program, or even a resilience keynote we’re here to assist you in making the right selection.