Be Proactive: Teach Emergency Preparedness
September is National Preparedness Month, and there are many ways that EMS can work with government in support of disaster preparedness. For example, you can:
Invite the public to a workshop about making a disaster kit
Start a CERT program to train citizens in disaster response
Visit local schools and talk to students about disaster preparedness
Ask local stores to prominently display items available for purchase that should be included in a disaster kit
Help nursing homes and other facilities run evacuation drills
One of the most tangible things that the public can do to prepare for a disaster is to assemble water, food, blankets, first aid, and other supplies in a disaster kit. Consider approaching your local hardware or grocery store or a large chain store that sells some of these items to partner on a promotion at the store or at your EMS station. Using a checklist you provide, help the public assemble the necessary items into their disaster kits and educate them about how they can prepare for emergencies.
Emergency Workers Fight for What They Believe In
Emergency workers in Canada take fighting for what they believe in literally. About 125 of them do it by boxing, for fun, fitness and, sometimes, for profit—which is turned over to charity.
The idea was the brainchild of Barry Dolan, a Peel Regional Police inspector from Ontario, Canada, who started the Canadian Emergency Services Boxing Association (CESBA) about a year ago for police, fire and EMS workers. "The main goal of the group is to bring everyone from these services together in a way that promotes camaraderie," Dolan said, noting that physical fitness also helps job performance and reduces stress.
Mark Oliver, a paramedic with Kawartha Lakes EMS in Lindsay, Ontario, agreed that boxing is "a great stress reliever, and it's good physical conditioning."
To bring more attention to the CESBA, Dolan arranges bouts designed to benefit charities. Last year, group members took to the ring in support of the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre. Dolan set up an exhibition fight called "Guns and Hoses"—police vs. firefighters. Twenty-six boxers squared off in 13 bouts held before 400 members of both the military and general community. At the end of the day, $1,500 was raised for the Centre.
"The fights give you a way to do something you enjoy and to help people at the same time," Oliver said.
"It also allows the community to see us as workers who take care of ourselves physically and who get along with each other outside of our jobs," Dolan noted. "Boxing is a role-modeling opportunity. And when you're on the streets, you're a role model, whether you know it or not."