The Power of EMS in Politics

What’s it all mean?

It’s hard to ignore that we are fast rolling into the election cycle to choose the next President of the United States. Media outlets everywhere are bombarding us with the latest sound bites and poll numbers, ad nauseum.

But, what’s it all mean for EMS.

The Power of EMS in Politics

Grass Roots

At the national level, it’s hard to pull any relevancy to EMS directly. Ask any national politician about Fire and EMS and you’d get glowing platitudes about how important we all are to the safety and security of the United States. Any politician would be out of his/her mind not to spew praise for the bravery and excellence espoused by each of you day-in and day-out.

It’s at the grass roots level that we believe the Fire/EMS community can make a big difference by constantly championing causes to make our needs known to the politicians that comprise our elected government. It all flows up hill and overall policy changes that affect what we do begin by engaging those officials.

We give props to the American Ambulance Association for being the voice of EMS in America at the national level. But for the AAA to do their job, it requires that those of us on the local level begin the process of talking to our local elected officials at all levels so the larger message is supported at the higher levels.


It’s all about having conversations. It’s all about building relationships and providing education about who we are and what we do in EMS.

All elected officials must be elected to be an official. This means that those officials are interested in you if for nothing else than to win over your vote in the next election.

This is especially true at the local level where decisions made in local government many times have a powerful direct effect on your day-to-day operations. Consider such things as approving coverage area, making decisions about what agency operates where and when. Local officials many times control the very dispatching agency that provides you with your daily workload but you control whether or not they get the chance to make those decisions.

So get out there and tell them where you stand. Don’t be afraid to express your needs as a provider and the needs of your organization as a whole.

You have power…

As such, you have the power to exert great influence that can begin the flow of advocacy from Main St all the way to Congress.

In the end, you make it happen.

When is the last time that you attended an event where a local official was also present? Did you take the time to talk to him/her about who you are and what you do?

Seek out a State representative and talk to him/her about what you are concerned about in EMS. Write a letter or visit the local office of a Congressman or Senator and express your concerns about stagnant Medicare payments. Stop a local elected official on the street to both advocate and thank him/her for those things that you know keep the wheels turning for your EMS agency.

Every elected official must be continually reminded that EMS doesn’t just happen and what they do affects what we do each and every day…both regulatory and most importantly, by controlling the dollars that support what we can and cannot do.

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