Be Proud!

Shrinking Pool

There’s a shrinking pool of EMS providers.

We don’t care where you are located, it’s obvious that fewer of us are doing this EMS thing. Quite frankly, it’s a bit scary. News story after news story, report after report chronicles that our numbers are down and the people willing to spend the time training and responding are fewer by a growingly larger number as time marches on.

We’re concerned for many of the Fire/EMS services we represent about the long-term sustainability of several of the Fire/EMS agencies we serve.

So, we offer some suggestions to help and digress just a wee bit from our normal billing focus to offer a few suggestions about how to face this challenge.

Stiff Competition

Let’s face it, we’re up against some stiff competition.

Unfortunately, many people today have to put in extra hours and multiple jobs to keep food on the table and electricity flowing into the home. It’s just a fact.

In days past, first responders could work a day job, leave the job and then have time to volunteer. Moms could volunteer during the day when the kids were at school. Dads had time to train and drill after work. Life was good and the system worked.

But modern life is more complicated. Mom works now while the kids are at school. Dad works a part-time job after the day-job to make ends meet. Plus there is competition for their time…coaching sports, hitting the gym, checking out social media, less labor intensive community organizations and service project opportunities that don’t require hours and hours of training and that can be scheduled amidst other activities in a planned structure way, as opposed to run when the pager trips and then spend countless hours and dollars training and buying equipment.

Pay people? Well, that works some time, but then again when many EMS providers make barely more than the person flipping burgers because reimbursements have been sliced by the Feds, Medicaid plus the risk of being spat-on, punched or even shot in some response areas…flipping burgers makes more sense to many folks.

Be Proud!

What can we do?

You love Fire and EMS or you wouldn’t be doing it. So why not be proud and represent?

Let’s face it, this thing we do is awesome and we need to let people know that despite all the training, sleep deprivation and terrible eating habits it’s still a rush to hold a newly delivered infant or witness the miracle of life when an arrest patient starts breathing again. It’s gratifying when the elderly person grabs your hand and thanks you and let’s not forget the life-long brothers and sisters and friendships we all gain by being part of this awesome thing we do.

So what can we do…we can BE PROUD and represent!

Talk it up!

Take a deep breath the next time you’re together with friends that aren’t part of the Fire and EMS world and think about what you’re saying about what we do.

Are you always talking about the long hours of no sleep, few bathroom breaks and not eating? Are you constantly moaning and groaning about the “cheese runs” and the patients that don’t appreciate you?

Or…are you focusing on the positive side of what we do? Why not share how awesome it is to cheat the grim reaper and give a family more time with their loved one. Share how gratifying it is to be thanked. Let people know that the friendship and camaraderie that is gained by hanging out with your partners is like inheriting a second family.

Let’s talk up this thing that we do, because really it is awesome.

If you want to attract more people into the industry, then we have to represent the industry for what it is…vital, necessary and important!

Use your social media outlets and websites to show the positive sides of what we do. Advertise opportunities for people to get involved. Invite the public to visit your station and demonstrate how awesome it is to be part of what we do. Get out and meet your neighbors to let them know who you are and what you do to prepare for their time of need.

The public’s impression about what we do is central to attracting new people to the profession, be it paid or volunteer. Let’s be positive. Let’s BE PROUD!!

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