No, this isn’t an ad for a cellular phone company or the latest social media site. However, it is a question you should be asking yourself on a regular basis and that you should be constantly reevaluating.
Sure, we have lots of friends and acquaintances in fire and EMS, but do they actually constitute a network?
Do you know what a network is?
Merriam-Webster defines network as “a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other.”
Closely connected and working with each other are not new ideas for fire and EMS agencies. We do see a lot of conflict and competition in EMS, but we’ve also seen a lot of collaboration and consolidation.
Considering all of the different issues that EMS has to deal with—including but certainly not limited to reimbursements, active killers, technology, the Affordable Care Act, community paramedicine, and mobile healthcare—there's simply so much going on that it's impossible for any one person or group to keep up on all of it.
This is where your network comes in.
While the EMS Section tries to provide our members with as much information and as many resources as we can, even the section must rely on other organizations in our network to keep up.
The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) publishes the Washington Update, which lists articles of interest on such topics as national and state issues, domestic preparedness and education.
Kevin McGinnis, communications technology advisor for NASEMSO as well as several other national EMS organizations, keeps us up to date on all of the communications and technology issues that are currently affecting EMS.
The National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) publishes Prehospital Emergency Care, and Dr. Sabina Braithwaite and the American College of Emergency Physicians just published the Strategy for a National EMS Culture of Safety.
There are many others too numerous to list, including our federal partners, that are critical to our network.
Members of the board and section work hard to maintain close relationships with all of our EMS colleagues. We're also working to improve relationships with other entities and stakeholders to further expand our network so we can cast a wider net when important EMS issues arise.
Most importantly, we're constantly working to improve the EMS Section and its resources so our members can rely on us as a critical part of their network.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having an effective network. Mine extends beyond EMS and into homeland security, emergency management, communications, the military and private industry. The question is, who’s in your network?