Every year EMS Week seems to sneak up on service directors who hastily ask/assign volunteers to lead the EMS Week effort. The committee is asked to plan and execute an event on exceedingly short notice and with little to no budget. Then the efforts of the committee are either ignored or chastised for the low turn-out.
Let’s break the EMS week trap by starting to plan now for EMS Week 2011.
- Social media. Now. Start a Facebook page for your agency or organization. Begin the process of building a community by posting photos of apparatus and training events. Link to news articles about incidents. Ask satisfied customers if you can scan and post their thank you letters to share. Don’t know where to start? Open a Facebook account and follow/like other EMS agencies. Check out the free social media training resources from PIOSocialMediaTraining.com
- Start building a new tradition. There are so many opportunities for tradition – an honor guard, recognizing length of service, promotion ceremony, cardiac arrest saves – to build an event around.
- Grow a community. Interacting with your Facebook community and attending local events will help build relationships.
- Prepare a call to action for your community. Now that you have them on your side, what do you want them to do. Building a community/following just for the sake of building doesn’t lead to tangible and measurable results. What are you going to ask your community to do?
- Move beyond free food and free stuff. Most of us are already packing a little extra weight and probably have a closet or drawer or both full of EMS shirts. Know your personnel so you can know what motivates them. To the regular surprise of most administrators more money is not at the top of the list when people are asked what would make them happier or feel more respected by their organization. What motivates you?
Finally, remember that recognition of group and individual accomplishment does not have to be relegated to a single week. Celebrate any and all successes.