Emergency Medical Services: Why Should I Belong to the EMS Section?

I’ve been asked that question a number of times by both IAFC and non-IAFC members. In today’s economic environment, it’s an excellent question, and we all know that our dollars are very limited. So, when choosing to spend these limited funds on professional organizations, you need to know what you’re going to get for your money.

The IAFC’s EMS Section:

  • Is a forum that addresses fire service based-EMS issues
  • Provides guidance and direction to the IAFC board and membership on fire service EMS issues
  • Represents fire service-based EMS issues to the federal government and other interest groups

Well, that sounds good, but what does it mean?

First and foremost, it means that regardless of whether you’re a career or volunteer first responder or even the size of your agency, you have members representing your EMS interests at many levels. Your board is composed of members from metro agencies like Los Angeles County and Memphis, a large combination system in Stafford County, Va., and smaller combination departments such as Kittitas Valley Fire, Wash., and Castle Rock, Colo. You even have representation in the educational world and paramedic programs.

Outside the board, we have a number of members representing all types of agencies—from career to volunteer—serving on a number of different committees or as liaisons to other national organizations. Between the board and our members, we try very hard to maintain a finger on the pulse of EMS across the country. Do we know everything? No, but chances are we can find a member who probably has the answer you need. So this forum is constantly addressing fire service-based EMS issues while keeping the IAFC board of directors informed and involved.

Second, the EMS Section is a resource you can go to for information on all types of EMS issues. On our section webpage, you can find information and best practices on topics like pandemic flu, NFPA 1584 Rehab and Medical Monitoring, the Orange Ribbon Report created with VCOS on how to lead and manage EMS systems in volunteer and combination systems, EMS education and professional development, and current federal issues.

We began producing podcasts last year to provide information on topics like CAAS accreditation, infection control, quality management and improvement, and other information. You can listen to Dr. Lori Moore-Merrill discuss the NIST EMS Resource Deployment Study, learn from CPSE about the Chief Medical Officer Designation or hear first-hand the details on significant events like the D.C. Metro crash or Rep. Gifford’s shooting.

We are currently working with IAFC staff to redesign the website to make it more user friendly, easier to navigate and more technologically up-to-date. If you can’t find a topic on our website, you can go to the contacts page and email or call any of the board members, who are more than willing to help you when we can. You can also become a fan on the section's Facebook page and have access to many section members through our Google email group, both of which have improved our social networking communications.

Finally, the EMS Section works hard to ensure our voices are heard on a variety of topics.

Chair Gary Ludwig serves on the National EMS Advisory Council, which is a direct pipeline for the federal government. Secretary Mike Metro has been working diligently on the issues surrounding helicopter EMS as it relates to public-safety agencies.

Chief Pete Lawrence stays on top of the CMS issues and how payments for service can affect the fire and emergency service. Chief David Becker represents us on the board that oversees accreditation of paramedic education programs, while Chief Gary Morris represents you on the NFPA 1901 Technical Committee on Ambulances. And the list goes on.

You can read about all of the 2010 EMS Section accomplishments on our webpage. You’ll quickly see that there’s a lot going on within the section and we’re very busy. Some of these items and issues may apply to you directly, such as being the recipient of a Heart Safe Community Award, while others will affect you the next time you go to purchase an ambulance or implement a rehab program.

Can we do better? Absolutely! We’re always looking to improve the section. One such way is that we’re reaching out to other national EMS organizations to see if there are opportunities to partner on issues affecting all EMS providers. We’re also looking at how we can better reach our members and how we can not only provide more education, information and best practices through webcasts and other current technologies, but also get feedback from you to ensure your needs are being met.

Check out the EMS Section Fact Sheet (PDF) to find out even more about what your dues get you. Regardless, your $25 dues to the section gives you access to an entire toolbox at your disposal. This is why you should belong to the IAFC’s EMS Section.

Norris W. Croom III, EFO, CMO, is the deputy chief of operations for the Castle Rock (Colo.) Fire and Rescue Department. He’s been a member of the EMS Section since 1998 and currently serves as the section’s director at large.

Related News
You are not logged in.