EMS World

DEC 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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EMSWORLD.com | DECEMBER 2018 65 tigmatized support to personnel during times of work-related and personal crisis. "Our goal is that commanders will not feel like the EMS chief in the beginning of this stor y," says Eric Winebrenner, MARC's public safety communications program director. "We want them to know they have a team of their own to reach out to in times of need, across jurisdictions and disciplines. Healthy commanders make healthy agencies." The Command Level Peer Suppor t Team and 9-1-1 Peer Suppor t Team are both involved in a national research study to gauge the ef ficacy of peer-suppor t programs , and the data they provide will be used to help shape programs in the future. "In helicopter EMS we ser ve a lot of rural communities . Many of the fir s t- responder agencies in those communi- ties are volunteers. The leaders of these agencies often wear multiple hats where they carr y plenty of stress when things are going right, let alone when they have a critical event," says Joe Coons, direc- tor of safety and communications with LifeFlight Eagle and one of the first com- manders to be trained in the program. "The focus on cumulative stress manage- ment during our training really resounded with me. Being able to provide suppor t to an agency leader who may not have access to an employee assistance pro- gram or other help is something I am proud to be a part of." "EMS managers and super visors have a great deal of responsibilit y beyond EMS operations," says J. Paul Davis, EMS chief with Johnson County Med-Act. "In addition to ensuring the EMS needs of the community are met, they must also ensure needs of medics and support staff are met. They are held accountable by their communit y leaders and must be sure they and their department are com- pliant with regulations and laws. They must also balance their work and family lives so neither is neglected. Add in more than two decades of ser vice as field med- ics, educators, and mentors and all the experiences that have occurred during that time, and you realize these strong women and men might also benefit from peer support. "Strength is not only a trait managers and super visors hold; it's also expected," Davis adds . "Our communit y leaders, our public, and our medics need us to be mentally, physically, and spiritually strong so we can ser ve in our ver y best capacity." Regional leaders are now reviewing the results of the pilot training and dis- cussing how the peer-suppor t training for command staf f might become an ongoing resource. There are currently 23 commanders on a waiting list for the next training. Thanks to J. Paul Davis for writing the introductory scenario. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pam Opoka, MPA, ENP, has over 23 years of experience in 9-1-1 and is the regional peer- suppor t program planner for the Mid-America Regional Council. Contac t her at popoka@marc.org. MORE ONLINE! Caring for Our Own: EMS World Expo presentation discusses the latest research into EMS-related mental sequelae. www.emsworld.com/article/1221644/ems-world- expo-caring-our-own

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