A set of Model Policies to Protect U.S. Fire-Based EMS Responders from Workplace Stress and Violence have been released by Drexel University's Center for Firefighter Injury Research and Safety Trends (FIRST) Stress and Violence in Fire-Based EMS Responders (SAVER) program.
These policies are designed to shift much of the responsibility of safety and health from that of the individual first responder to the organization by focusing on actions that can be instituted through training, policy and environmental modifications.
The model policies are a companion to FIRST's SAVER Systems-Level Checklist, published in 2019. They are organized into 8 thematic areas and 6 phases of response, forming a framework to address everything that should be in place for every emergency medical services (EMS) run. At the end of each of phase are actions (“pause points”) that responders should take to protect themselves and provide feedback to the system on what is and isn't working.
The next step
Fire and rescue departments are encouraged to incorporate the SAVER model policies into their current policy manuals and to develop their own standard operating procedures and guidelines to support each policy.
- Additional policy considerations: While adopting the SAVER model policies should be the first step, departments may also consult the full SAVER Systems-Level Checklist for additional policy considerations.
- Implementation challenges: This new publication provides the results of a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis conducted by study participants, identifying considerations and barriers that will likely be encountered during policy implementation, and includes suggested actions to overcome implementation challenges.
The model policies were developed through a national stakeholder consensus process which selected policies deemed to be the most feasible to implement with the highest impact on preventing or mitigating workplace violence to EMS providers.
Violence is the second most frequent cause of nonfatal injuries to EMS providers according to 2020 data from National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Most of these injuries occur during encounters with patients or with bystanders who are present during patient treatment.
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