Coming soon for AAA members: Employee Background Screening

Attention AAA members! The American Ambulance Association is teaming up with Sterling Backcheck, the country’s largest and best-respected employee background screening company. AAA members receive deeply discounted pricing, as all background checks for AAA members are treated as one “client.”

Contact Peter.Mulherin@sterlingbackcheck.com for a fast free evaluation today!

(Learn more about the Sterling Backcheck difference.)

Share With Your Team: Taking Care of You

Taking care of yourself means paying attention to both your physical and your emotional needs. It means eating nutritious foods, getting enough exercise and sleep, and carving out time for activities you enjoy and people you care about. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you take better care of yourself.

  • Eat a healthy diet. There’s no question that the foods we eat affect how we feel and look. You don’t have to follow a strict diet, but it‘s important to follow a healthy diet. A nutritious, well-balanced diet gives you energy, protects against disease, and helps you maintain a healthy weight.One easy rule to follow is what some experts refer to as the “80/20 rule”: If 80 percent of what you eat is healthy — with a nutritious mix of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — then you can let yourself eat what you want for the other 20 percent.
  • Avoid multitasking at mealtimes. If you always watch television at meals or eat on the run a lot, you may not realize how much you are eating. If you’re on the go a lot, keep healthy snacks in the car and eat a little while you’re out, then a little more once you get home. Avoid eating big meals just before going to bed.
  • Get exercise. People who exercise even moderately have much lower rates of heart disease and other medical problems, and regular exercise helps to reduce stress. But exercise is often the first thing to go when schedules get busy or during difficult times. Experts recommend that adults get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise that makes you breathe harder on all or most days of the week.
  • Turn family time into exercise time. Try exploring a local park, going for a hike or bike ride, or just walking around the block with your family instead of going to the movies or shopping.
  • Stretch for just a minute or two when you wake up each day. In addition to helping you ease into your day, a brief stretching routine can restore or build flexibility and energize your body.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep experts say most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to be their best.  Sleep difficulties can take a toll on your health and well-being, especially if they persist. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, people who are sleep-deprived are more likely to experience poor concentration and irritability, have accidents, and even suffer from depression.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. Even adults need a bedtime routine. By adopting a routine and then sticking with it, you can train your mind and body to feel relaxed and ready to fall asleep when you start the routine. A bedtime routine can be as simple as listening to soft music, drinking a cup of herbal tea, or taking a bath and then turning out the lights at the same time every night. If you watch TV before bed, try not to watch programs that are violent or make you think too much, as it may then be difficult to turn off your brain.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques. Deep breathing and meditation are two of the most widely used relaxation techniques. To do deep breathing, try inhaling as you count to five slowly, and exhaling as you reverse the count. It may also help to relax each part of their body in succession, starting with the right foot, right leg, right shoulder, right hand, and so on, back down the left side.
  • Express your emotions. Talking with a trusted friend or writing in a journal can help you release strong feelings instead of keeping them bottled up, which can lead to more stress.
  • Do things that make you feel good. Whether it’s going to a movie, spending time with a relative or friend, or going for a walk, it’s important that you schedule time to do things that you enjoy and make you feel good so that you can cope with the pressures that cause you stress.

Want more ideas? Visit www.lifeworks.com (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks) and explore our wide range of wellbeing resources, from a new podcast, Losing Weight Together! to articles like Taking Care of Yourself, and Getting Past Obstacles to Personal Change. You can also practice some of the guided exercises in our new Mindfulness Toolkit to help reduce stress and improve focus and well-being.

Call LifeWorks at 888-267-8126 or visit www.lifeworks.com (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks). 

Share With Your Team: Substance Abuse Resources

Find out how AAA’s LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program, automatically covers all member organizations’ employees, can help your staff that is struggling with addiction.

Download our Substance Abuse PDF, then share electronically with employees. Articles covered include:

  • If You Suspect an Employee Has a Substance Abuse Problem
  • Recognizing a Substance Abuse Problem and What to Do
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Warning Signs
  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Quick Facts About Alcohol Abuse
  • Support Groups for Family and Friends of Substance Abusers
  • What to Do If You Suspect a Co-Worker Has a Substance Abuse Problem
  • What is Reasonable Suspicion?
  • How to Help Someone Getting Past Resistance to Drug and Alcohol Treatment
  • Treating Addiction
  • How to Use the Employee Assistance Program
  • and many more!

Download Substance Abuse PDF

As always, you and your team can call our dedicated hotline, 1-800-929-0068, 24/7 to set appointments for FREE IN-PERSON COUNSELING in your area. Learn more on our AAA Employee Assistance Program page (membership required.)

Share With Your Team: Building Resilience

(from the AAA Employee Assistance Program powered by Ceridean LifeWorks)

All of us face unexpected changes, challenges, and set-backs at some point throughout our lives. How can you learn to keep up a positive attitude and stay strong through life’s unwanted changes and challenges? Here are a few resilience techniques to practice and to help you get through challenging times:

  • Choose to have a positive attitude. There are many things over which you have no control — for example, you can’t control whether the company gets sold and you lose your job. You can’t control whether your child is faced with a serious illness. But you can choose how you respond to the difficulties and setbacks you face.
  • Take care of yourself. The stronger and fitter you are physically, the more resources you will have to face the challenges that life brings you. Practice healthy habits. Make sure you get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, get out and walk alone or with a friend, and manage feelings of stress. The more you do for yourself, the more resilient you’ll feel during times of challenge and change.
  • Use “traffic light coping.” This exercise, developed by Dr. Williams, works like this: When you start to feel worried, panicked, or angry — when you start to “see red” — stop and relax. Pause. Take some time to breathe deeply to help calm your body and mind. Soften your shoulders. Let your muscles soften slightly. When you feel calmer, you’re ready to move forward.
  • Trust your inner strength. Experts agree that we have strengths we never knew we had until we have to use them. You’ll be amazed at how many personal resources you have that you never even knew about. Remember that change can lead to personal growth.
  • Start with a single step. If you are faced with a challenge that feels big or overwhelming, start with the simplest thing you can do that takes you in the direction you want to be. Ask yourself, “What’s the smallest thing I can do to get started?” Once you’ve thought about it, do it.
  • Let go of your anger. A difficult challenge can cause us to feel angry and upset. These feelings are normal, but they won’t help us move forward. Work through your anger by writing about it, or talking about it with a trusted friend. Try to let go of negative feelings. It’s not easy to do. It takes practice and work. But try. You’ll be amazed at the results.
  • Focus on solutions, not problems. Instead of focusing on what you feel you may be losing, consider what you may gain because of the change. For example, if your job is changing, this may be the opportunity you were waiting for to reassess your work and find new direction.
  • Laugh. Even when things seem to be falling apart around you, try to find time to smile and laugh. It’s very healing and it will help you forget your worries for a few moments. Rent a movie that makes you laugh or spend time with a friend with a good sense of humor.
  • Focus on the things that are good in your life. Count your blessings. Try to appreciate the day-to-day good things in your life now. The more time you spend doing that, the more energy you will have to deal with the problems that you face. A sense of gratitude helps put things in perspective.

For more ideas on staying resilient during times of change, get in touch with LifeWorks—call to speak with a caring, professional consultant anytime, 24/7. You can also go to www.lifeworks.com to explore our online resources including an award-winning booklet, Bouncing Back: Staying resilient through the challenges of life , a recording, Navigating Workplace Change featuring stories and ideas on how to thrive in turbulent times. You can also check out helpful articles like Ten Ways to Bounce Back and Finding Strength in Family and Community, or a podcast, Adjusting to Changes in Your Personal Life. LifeWorks is completely confidential and it’s provided to you at no cost through your organization’s AAA membership.

Call LifeWorks at 800-929-0068 or visit www.lifeworks.com (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks). 

Spotlight: Jerry Glass, Labor Relations Expert

Jerry Glass
President
F&H Solutions Group
Download Jerry’s vcard
Follow Jerry @JerryGlass
Connect with Jerry on LinkedIn

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in New York City. I went to college at Boston University and then moved to Washington, D.C., to attend George Washington University, where I received my master’s degree. It is also where I met my wife, Karen. We have been married for 36 years, but with all the travel I do, I tell people we have only been together for about 15 years! We have two adult children and one son-in-law.

My number one passion is basketball. I live and breathe the sport. I have been playing in a basketball league and enjoying pickup games with a group of guys for more than 30 years. And if you invite me to see a high school, college, or professional basketball game, count me in. Karen and I also love cycling and spinning. We take a cycling trip each summer and have seen some great sites on our bikes.

How did you get into labor relations? Can you give us some background on your professional life?

When I graduated from GWU, my first job was with the Veterans Administration as an analyst. The job required a lot of travel and was really gut wrenching, working with our veterans who had done so much for our country. From there, I worked as a costing/financial analyst for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) which is a trade association and a union. Then, I moved to the Airline Industrial Relations Conference, which served as the labor policy organization for the U.S. scheduled airlines. I started out as the Director of Labor Relations Research and was promoted to Executive Director and Vice President. After 9 years in that job, I went out on my own as a labor and employee relations consultant. The rest was history as I built my consultancy into a national labor relations and HR consulting firm, F&H Solutions Group.

In addition to running my firm, I also served as the Executive Vice President and Chief HR Officer at US Airways during the airline’s two bankruptcies. Wow, did I learn a lot about restructurings! Thankfully, the airline not only survived, but eventually became part of the largest airline in the world.

I have been fortunate to have an amazing team working with me. Together, we provide labor relations advice and negotiations expertise to many of the most important industries in the country, including transportation, construction, property management, media and more.

How have you seen labor relations issues impact business?

[quote_right]”People involved in labor relations must be great communicators and even better listeners.”[/quote_right]Employees are a huge part of an organization’s success. When unions represent employees, it adds a level of complexity to how you manage employees. People involved in labor relations must be great communicators and even better listeners. Labor relations has an impact on a company’s bottom line and it is crucial for employers to tread carefully, work cooperatively, and be proactive when dealing with unions.

How can FHSG help AAA members with their labor relations issues?

We would like to help members understand the dynamics involved in labor-management relations. Whether it’s learning how to communicate effectively with unionized employees, providing research on CBAs in the industry, or understanding the different aspects of a union campaign, we can help you devise a labor strategy. We will offer a free initial consultation to all AAA members. In addition, we will provide insightful blogs and webinars on topics related to labor relations, proactive employee relations and leadership/managerial skills.

Any parting thoughts or last words?

While it is not uncommon for management at newly unionized companies to feel intimidated, it is crucial that management continue to do their jobs and effectively manage employees. Over time, you will learn to work with the union and how to maintain a positive, inclusive and safe workplace culture for your employees. Management cannot allow union activity to disrupt the ability to manage and ensure the integrity of the day to day operation.

HUD Program Gives 50% Mortgage Discounts to EMTs & Paramedics

Are you familiar with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door program? Please share this with your medics, if you haven’t already.

Good Neighbor Next Door

Law enforcement officers, pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians can contribute to community revitalization while becoming homeowners through HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program. HUD offers a substantial incentive in the form of a discount of 50% from the list price of the home. In return you must commit to live in the property for 36 months as your sole residence.

How the Program Works

Eligible Single Family homes located in revitalization areas are listed exclusively for sale through the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales program. Properties are available for purchase through the program for seven days.

How to Participate in Good Neighbor Next Door

Check the listings for your state. Follow the instructions to submit your interest in purchasing a specific home. If more than one person submits an offer on a single home a selection will be made by random lottery. You must meet the requirements for a law enforcement officer, teacher, firefighter or emergency medical technician and comply with HUD’s regulations for the program.

HUD requires that you sign a second mortgage and note for the discount amount. No interest or payments are required on this “silent second” provided that you fulfill the three-year occupancy requirement.The number of properties available is limited and the list of available properties changes weekly.

To learn more, please see our Good Neighbor Sales Frequently Asked Questions!

VIDEO: AAA Experts in Reimbursement, Regulations, Human Resources, Operations

Did you know that your AAA membership includes access to some of the top minds in the ambulance industry today? As the healthcare landscape becomes ever more complex, it’s nice to know you have experts on your side.

Watch the video below to learn more about the attorney-consultants that AAA retains in order to ensure our member organizations are ahead of the curve on human resource, reimbursement, legislative, and regulatory issues.

Attention, AAA Members!
Have a question? Submit it to our experts today!
Ask a reimbursement or Medicare question.
Ask a human resources or operations question.

Not yet a member? Join today to gain access to AAA experts, plus a wealth of other powerful member benefits.

LifeWorks: Helping AAA Member Employees Make Life Work Better

Enhance employee health and engagement by making sure your workforce is aware of the LifeWorks Employee Assistance and Wellness Program. The LifeWorks program is centered around helping your employees achieve work-life balance, improving their productivity and well-being.

We all face challenges in life. From finding answers to parenting questions or managing personal finances, to getting help with a relationship or taking care of health issues, LifeWorks offers around the clock fast, free, confidential help.

AAA understands that your people are your most valuable asset. Make sure your employees are aware of this resource for fast, confidential help with family, work, money, health and work-life balance issues. Share AAA’s EAP with your team.

Share Lifeworks with Your Team Today!

Download a copy of this flyer to share with your employees: AAA 2016 LifeWorks Information Flyer

Most of us find our jobs stressful at times. Often these feelings are temporary, but sometimes negative emotions linger and may begin to affect your job performance, your relations with others, or even your health and well-being. Learning to manage challenging emotions at work takes effort, but the payoff is big. When we deal with problems before they overwhelm us, we can contribute more to our team and gain a greater sense of control and effectiveness — both at work and outside of work. You can take steps to become more aware of your emotions and to manage them more effectively. If you are feeling stressed at work, the following tips can help you cope:

  • Recognize your emotions in their early stages, before they feel out of control. By reviewing your day’s activities and the feelings they caused, you may discover the source of difficult feelings at work. But it may take practice to recognize your real feelings. There’s a strong body of research that shows the ability to be recognize and name your feelings will protect you from having outbursts in the future and will improve your relationships. Ask trusted friends and mentors for help learning to recognize and name your feelings.
  • Learn to express your emotions in healthy ways. Have strategies for dealing with difficult feelings in ways appropriate for work.
  • Think about how you managed a problem in the past. If an event at work — like a conflict with a co-worker or an unusually stressful workload — is triggering an emotional challenge, consider how you overcame a similar problem in the past. What worked? What didn’t?
  • Write it down. This can be especially helpful if a problem is keeping you awake at night. If you are having an ongoing conflict with a co-worker, you might write: “Every time we talk, even about unimportant things, we end up arguing. Maybe I did something to offend him once but don’t know it. Maybe ask him out for lunch and find out.” This can help you come up with strategies and keep the problem from distracting you.
  • Build your emotional resilience.Pay attention to your physical and mental well-being. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. All of these will help you find the energy you need to meet emotional challenges. This will help to keep you emotionally resilient and to feel more in control of your emotions and your life.
  • Use your vacation time.Taking time off helps to buffer job stress, research has found. A vacation can also allow you to pull back and gain a fresh perspective on work stress and possible ways to ease it.
  • Maintain support systems outside of work.Talking about your concerns with close friends or your partner can reduce your anxiety and help you keep problems in perspective. Choose someone you trust who knows you well enough to give you honest feedback.
  • Cultivate interests outside of work, including activities with good friends. Remember, not all satisfaction comes from work accomplishments.

For support and more ideas on managing stress and other emotions at work, get in touch with LifeWorks—call to speak with a caring, professional consultant anytime, 24/7. LifeWorks is completely confidential and it’s provided to you at no cost. You can also go to www.lifeworks.com to explore our online resources—short videos, podcasts, and a wide range of articles including:

Call LifeWorks at 888-267-8126 or visit www.lifeworks.com (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks)

ACA Filing Deadline Extension

In Fall 2015, we alerted you to a deadline for a new employer filings under the Affordable Care Act.  On December 28, 2015 the IRS extended the deadline to furnish and file the required forms for all required filers. The new deadlines are:

  • March 31, 2016, to deliver the 2015 Forms 1095-C to affected employees;
  • May 31, 2016, to manually file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS — for employers who’re eligible for paper filing; and
  • June 30, 2016, to electronically file the 2015 Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS.

According to the IRS this is a one-time filing extension and will not be further extended.   This will give employers and payroll companies additional time to prepare for this new requirement.  If you fail to make the required filings by these extended deadlines, you will be subject to penalties.  If you have not yet determined how you will prepare for this deadline, you should be contacting your payroll service or benefits broker for assistance.

As always, the American Ambulance Association can assist you with any ACA questions.

Active Shooter/Violence Resources for EMS

Updated December 22, 2015

In the sad wake of many recent mass shooting incidents, the AAA wants to ensure you and your team have all of the best information possible about handling these scenarios.

Are there other resources you use with your team to prepare for active shooters? Please share with us in the comments and we will augment this list. Thank you, and stay safe!

Preventing and Surviving Violence

Recovering from Active Shooter Incidents

Articles

Special thanks to Scott Moore of EMS Resource Advisors, Steve Delahousey of AMR, Aarron Reinert of Lakes Region EMS, John Peterson of Sunstar Paramedics, and Christopher Eisenhardt of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team for their assistance.

Lee Ann Pond, Rob Lawrence

Podcast: Word on the Street Previews AAA 2015

This week, Word on the Street podcaster Rob Lawrence previews the American Ambulance Association Annual Conference & Tradeshow over at EMS World.

Thanks to Rob for the great discussion featuring AAA’s senior vice president of government affairs, Tristan North, Lee Ann Pond, chief administrative officer of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), and Dan Fellows, RAA fleet manager.

Listen to Podcast

Already registered for #ambucon15? Don’t miss Lee Ann’s session, Staff Retention and Leadership Development, onsite at AAA 2015!

Not yet signed up? It’s not too late to join us at Annual November 1–3 in Las Vegas. Learn more.

 

LifeWorks: Helping AAA Member Employees Make Life Work Better

Enhance employee health and engagement by making sure your workforce is aware of the LifeWorks Employee Assistance and Wellness Program. The LifeWorks program is centered around helping your employees achieve work-life balance, improving their productivity and well-being.

We all face challenges in life. From finding answers to parenting questions or managing personal finances, to getting help with a relationship or taking care of health issues, LifeWorks offers around the clock fast, free, confidential help.

AAA understands that your people are your most valuable asset. Make sure your employees are aware of this resource for fast, confidential help with family, work, money, health and work-life balance issues. Share AAA’s EAP with your team.

Acadian Ambulance High School Champions Livonia

Acadian’s High School Champions Program Leads the Way

Founded in 1971 in with just eight staff and two vehicles, Acadian Ambulance has grown over the years to more than 4000 employees with a fleet of 400 ground ambulances, helicopters, fixed-wing airplanes, and van and bus transports. Their territory has expanded from Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, to stations spanning large swaths of Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.

How does such a large and varied service feed their talent pipeline? In addition to many other strategies, Acadian is leading the industry in its efforts to engage young adults in EMS through its High School Champions program, a division of their National EMS Academy.

Porter Taylor, Acadian's Director of Operations
Porter Taylor, Acadian’s Director of Operations

To learn more about the ins-and-outs of the program, AAA caught up with Porter Taylor, Acadian’s Director of Operations. Taylor has been in EMS for 29 years, since he joined Acadian Ambulance as a college sophomore. “I love making a difference in people’s lives. When I was working on a unit it was the patient, and now, almost 30 years later, it is the employees that I love helping.”

Establishing High School Champions was not a linear path. Initially, Acadian would send medics to career fairs and school functions to introduce the field and promote its National EMS Academy (NEMSA) as an opportunity after graduation. “There are a lot of technical grants out there, and a critical staffing need for EMS in general. We wanted to create an avenue for educating students about the benefits of becoming EMTs to support our staffing needs long term,” said Taylor.

Although these medic visits were effective, Acadian wanted to expand the fledgling program’s scope and reach. He began visiting area high schools and meeting with school boards and directors more than a year ago to build relationships and explore opportunities. The partnerships he built added another facet to the High School Champion initiative wherein Acadian continues to promote NEMSA, coupled with an effort to get the schools to incorporate an EMT program as an elective prior to graduation. “[I wanted] to introduce them to our company and our support of this technical career path. My goal was to let the teachers and technical program directors know that Acadian has jobs for their students upon the successful completion of the program. Once students turn 18, Acadian will be able to offer them a rewarding  position with good pay and benefits and with continuing education opportunities.”

Acadian Operations Manager Justin Cox was instrumental in the implementation at Livonia High School, a recent addition to the program. In concert with his professional know-how, Cox had a personal connection to the school—his thirteen year old daughter attends Livonia.

Collaborating with the administration, Acadian now works with schools like Livonia to introduce EMS career paths at the end of high school, a time when students are making key choices about their futures. Students can start the EMT training program as an elective prior to graduation and take the national certification exam upon turning 18. Students spend 2-3 hours 3 days a week, during their junior and senior years preparing. “It is a joy to work on this program,” said Taylor, “It is a privilege to help young people make a career choice that is full of rewards.”

Does your service have a great program that is making a difference in your area? Let us know in the comments section below, or email ariordan@ambulance.org.

Spotlight: Reviving Responders Suicide Prevention

AAA caught up with Amy Young of CareFlite, group leader of an Ambulance Service Manager program team project on EMS suicide prevention. This project resulted in the creation of www.revivingresponders.com.

The Project Team

As part of the February 2015 Ambulance Service Manager (ASM) class, seven of us were randomly assigned to groups and asked to complete a project in ten weeks with team members spread across the United States. Our research we presented our data to the ASM class as part of the requirements for graduation.

All told, the seven members of our group have a combined total of 92 years of service in EMS. Many started as EMTs and worked up to Paramedic status, some began as volunteers, and the rest came to EMS as a second career. Nonetheless, we are all driven by ambitious personalities, our ability to make a difference, our desire to provide meaningful patient care, and the opportunity to work with other public service providers. The group consists of the following people:

Our group decided on a topic that was both personal and something we hoped could make a significant impact on the EMS culture. We chose to do a survey about the prevalence of critical stress amongst EMS and evaluate why suicide rates of EMS providers is on the rise.

The Shocking Survey Results

[quote_left]37% of providers across the nation who responded to our survey had contemplated suicide, and 6.6% of those respondents have actually attempted to take their own lives.[/quote_left]Our EMS specific-survey was open for 40 days, resulting in 4,022 responses from all 50 United States plus Guam, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. When we closed the survey, we were hit with a hard reality: that EMS suicide numbers were skyrocketing and the programs available to help were not sufficient. Our data shows that 1,383 of the 4,022 (37%) providers across the nation who responded to our survey had contemplated suicide, and 6.6% of those respondents have actually attempted to take their own lives.

The survey data shows that respondents working in an EMS culture that does not support the mental wellness and does not encourage the use of formal support institutions like Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) are substantially more likely to contemplate and/or attempt suicide. Additionally, respondents that don’t come from an EMS culture of support and encouragement are much less likely to seek help when they need it, and are much less likely to engage in helpful support.

The also survey measured the effectiveness of formal support institutions like EAPs and CISM. The results startlingly showed that these support institutions were rated as being either “Very Helpful” or “Extremely Helpful” by the respondents that use them. After hearing so many stories about how inept an EAP counselor was or what a “waste of time” that CISM session turned out to be, we expected these numbers to be much, much lower.

In other words, we discovered a very significant prevalence of suicidal ideation in the EMS provider community. We discovered that EAPs and CISM have room for improvement, but do not fall as short of the mark as we originally perceived. It appears, however, that a very significant component to the prevalence and severity of stress in the EMS culture to include suicidal ideation and attempt is the EMS culture itself.

For us, these results brought a whole new meaning to the project. We named our team Reviving Responders, because we realized we need to revive ourselves if want to continue reviving others. A few group members had even experienced suicide by fellow associates in their organizations. [Team member] Monique Rose said, “I was exposed to this issue following a close call involving the resuscitation of the guys in my department. During this time our department struggled to process the tragedy, and I became aware of the flaws in the system while working through some of my own demons.”

CDC. (2012). www.cdc.gov. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How You Can Help

First and foremost, recognition and acknowledgement. As leaders, we cannot afford to be timid about this. If we see one of our own in distress, we must step out of our comfort zone and have the difficult conversations. It will be hard. This is a very dominant and proud profession, and we may not have our staff lining up to say they are struggling. Leaders need tolearn to recognize the warning signs and say something before it’s too late. Really, it should be the responsibility of every single person in EMS to notice subtle changes in individual behavior or work ethics.

Second, employers must be supportive, and offer an environment that supports employee well-being and mental health.

Last, employers should help change the culture of EMS across the board by providing the appropriate resources and ensuring they are available all the time and for as long as the service is needed.

How the Ambulance Industry Can Help

[quote_right]There is no question that field providers are not inherently equipped to deal with the stressors of the profession.[/quote_right] The ambulance industry needs to own the fact that we do not have adequate culture of support for providers to deal with suicide. There is no question that field providers are not inherently equipped to deal with the stressors of the profession. Coping skills for these stressors need to be taught to providers, and providers need to realize that receiving assistance with those skills is acceptable. The irony of the matter here is that many cultures in the industry are in direct opposition to the idea of getting help to deal with the stressors in EMS. As industry leaders, we are responsible for the tone of our respective divisions, and as such have the ability to steer culture. Our data suggests that taking steps to move culture towards one of support for providers’ mental well-being will be far more effective than attempting to reform the current state of CISM and EAP.

With projects like Reviving Responders and ASM, the word is spreading quickly. If we shift the culture, we can reduce the stigma that surrounds this topic. Think about it this way—if we can’t take care of our providers, how do you expect them to take care of patients? As an industry, we must be serious and promote access to various types of resources as no single type will work for everyone.

Most importantly, we must expand our education curriculum to include acknowledgment, recognition, and coping mechanisms far beyond the current single chapter “well-being of the provider” in all our literature.

Final Thoughts

Please speak up so we can help. Reviving Responders is our group’s effort to continue working towards a solution. Right now we are partnering with multiple entities around the U.S. to compile a list of suitable resources tailored to EMS and public safety as a whole. We hope that by sharing our stories others will be encouraged to speak up.

One great resource is Safe Call Now, 206-459-3020, which provides a confidential 24-hour crisis referral service. Safe Call Now allows public safety employees to speak with mental health professionals that are familiar with our line of work , as well as  public safety professionals who understand and can relate. We have more resources available on our website, www.revivingresponders.com..