We know we provide a valuable service to our community, and community members rely on us just as we rely on them. We typically provide a wide array of services, including emergency response, fire and injury prevention programs and now maybe some form of mobile integrated healthcare.
It's expected that we'll provide these services, and we should strive for high customer satisfaction. Our communities know we'll be there when they call, but to be truly successful, we need to have a vested interest in the community as a whole.
This means we need to go beyond the day-to-day services of our organization; we need to become involved in the community to serve and to lead. When the members of our organizations are involved, they have a better understanding of the issues within the community and they may be able to help solve some of the challenges that exist.
What does it mean to be involved? It can be as simple as being a member of the chamber of commerce or as significant as serving as a member of your local hospital's board of directors.
It means participating in community events, such as the county fair and parade, city festivals and special events. It could mean contributing time or money toward your local veteran's group that's raising funds to build a memorial.
Maybe it's sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity home, an event to clean up the creek, park or other open space, or adopting a section of highway to keep free of trash. It might be building an access ramp at a home for a newly wheelchair-bound resident or bringing home a wounded veteran in your fire truck or ambulance.
Ultimately, being involved in our community is just like EMS; it's a local issue that will be different in every community we visit.
Nothing listed above has anything to do with what is expected of us, but they have everything to do with how we're perceived in the community. The more visible and engaged we are in these extracurricular activities, the more support and respect we should be able to earn and the more successful our communities will be.
We want our organizations to be successful and we want to live and work where it's safe, friendly and enjoyable. Coupled with what is expected of us, as leaders in our communities, we can help ensure they're ones that are all of these and are where people will want to live and visit. All it takes is a vested interest.