Fire/emergency medical services Law enforcement

Resource offers model policies for protecting fire-based EMS workers from violence

Photo: simonkr/iStockphoto

Philadelphia — Drexel University’s Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends has created model organizational policies aimed at addressing stress and violence in fire-based emergency medical services workers.

NIOSH data shows that, in 2020, violence was the second leading cause of nonfatal injuries to EMS professionals, with a majority of injuries arising from encounters with patients or bystanders during patient care.

The resource is a companion to a checklist developed by FIRST’s Stress and Violence in Fire-Based EMS Responders (SAVER) program in 2019. Guidance for organizations and employers includes: 

  • Create procedures for assessing scene safety and communicating needs during unsafe conditions.
  • Use common language when defining violence against workers.
  • Establish collaboration and communication with EMS responders, dispatch and law enforcement to provide EMS with sufficient notice, knowledge and preparation for responding to calls.
  • Involve EMS workers “in the design of the system in which they work and looking to them for feedback when the system fails.”
  • Encourage workers to report all incidents of verbal and physical violence experienced during work.

“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,” the U.S. Fire Administration says.

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