Reports & Resources

Chief Concerns: Fire Service Fatigue- A Problem You Can’t Afford to Ignore

In the hours after a train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people, news reports were already stating that the engineer’s recent work schedule would be examined. This wasn’t surprising, given that just weeks earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board stated that operator fatigue was partially to blame for another train crash that occurred in Chicago last year. Anyone who’s worked in the fire service knows that fatigue can impact one’s work performance. In the aftermath of major incidents, we don’t always focus on fatigue as a factor—and it’s often extremely difficult to know just what role it plays when it comes to vehicle crashes, fireground injuries, or medical errors. One thing is clear, however: employee fatigue impacts every fire department, no matter how big or small, or what type of shift schedule. It’s an issue that no fire chief should ignore.

Chief Concerns: How is your Communications Center Performing?

What the question really means: Evaluating your communications center’s performance is about more than whether the center is private or public, staffed with sworn or civilian personnel, or a single-agency or multi-agency dispatch center. The cornerstone of assessing your communications center is the use of evidence-based standards rooted in industry best practices—and analyzing the impact they have on your department’s operations.

Scrutiny of Ambulance Operations Highlights Need for Compliance

Increased attention on ambulance use demonstrates the need for compliance plans to include emergency and non-emergency ambulance operations. The HHS OIG has published voluntary compliance program guidance for ambulance suppliers. Ambulance billing should reflect the care provided by the EMS personnel, not the hospital diagnosis of the patient. Training for billing personnel and EMS providers on documentation and billing for ambulance services is often inadequate. Ambulance suppliers should conduct regular claims reviews to ensure problems are identified and corrected prior to an audit.

Trauma Takes Its Toll: Addressing the mental health crisis in emergency services

Amidst growing concern about the mental health of EMS professionals, a Fitch & Associates’ Ambulance Service Manager Program Project Team recently surveyed more than 4,000 EMS and fire professionals about critical stress, suicide, and available support and resources.1 The results were stark.

Safety Management Systems in EMS: An Implementation Guide

Our peers in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) have been catching a lot of flack in the media recently, due to several high-profile incidents and government investigations. Maybe you’ve been thinking, Thank goodness it’s them, not us. But what are you doing to achieve the safest environment for your staff and patients? You may find my opinion harsh or even critical, but I don’t see much activity at the grassroots level in making ground EMS operations safer. There seems to be an intense focus on “the box,” meaning the area behind the ambulance cab, but not much activity out of (and beyond) the box. Where are the vision, the commitment, the tools and the passion to meet our guiding mission, “First do no harm”?
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