AMU Emergency Management Original Public Safety

Innovation Sometimes Involves Returning to Old Practices

By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

The last few years have seen some innovative measures taking place in public safety agencies throughout the country. For example, the Community Paramedicine Model has helped first responders to manage non-emergency patients who need more urgent medical care.

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Similarly, the Rescue Task Force Model allows shooting victims to be cared for more efficiently after a mass casualty shooting incident. These innovations have reshaped public safety agencies and aided them in managing 911 emergencies more efficiently.

However, innovations don’t always have to be new concepts. They can involve public agencies revisiting what worked in the past and applying it again in a new way to 911 calls.

Minnesota Adapting BLS Ambulances for Less Urgent Patients

Among recent innovative measures is one that was already in place years ago, but is seeing a resurgence in how it is applied. In St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, agencies are sending out ambulances capable of basic life support to handle less urgent patients in the field.

This practice allows Advanced Life Support units to remain available for more serious emergencies. As a result, St. Paul can more effectively handle an influx of emergency patients. It’s a great example of good resource management by having a dedicated unit for less-urgent cases.

More Innovation Will Be Needed as Communities Change and Grow

As a community grows and changes, patient care and resource management for 911 calls will need to adapt to handle emerging community needs. Whether that adaptation involves a new idea or just readapting an old, simple idea for a new innovation, that will help agencies better handle their 911 calls.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as an Intermittent Emergency Management Specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services, as At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. She is also chair of Pi Gamma Mu’s Leadership Development Program. Prior to teaching, Allison worked for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. She is an emergency medical technician and holds multiple graduate degrees.

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