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When Emergency Management Programs Morph into Government Policies

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

There have been a number of programs in the history of emergency management that were so successful they were developed into national policies. The Incident Command System, a program originally started by firefighters fighting the wildfires in California, moved from a departmental-wide policy to a federal policy initiative when it was implemented in emergency management agencies throughout the country.

Community Paramedic Program and Wisconsin Legislation

Recently, in an effort to manage non-emergency patients utilizing ambulances and emergency departments throughout the country, a new concept -- the Community Paramedic Program -- started at one emergency medical services agency. It quickly swept across the country as more and more agencies recognized the benefits associated with using such a model.  Recently in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the Community Paramedic Program has been implemented into law by the state legislature, shifting just how patients will receive medical care in Wisconsin.

Changing Paradigms

The creation of a policy in support of the Community Paramedic Program will greatly shift the overall paradigm and legitimacy of this program. It will enhance how this program is implemented in communities across the country.

For example, how agencies handle active shooter situations is another concept that is sweeping across the country and is reshaping just how emergency management is handled through the overall design of the Rescue Task Force.

Innovative programs like the Rescue Task Force and the Community Paramedic Program are changing how resources are managed during crises. Further, when programs are demonstrated to be successful, they often become the subject of a government working to make that policy more of a reality by legitimizing it through legislation. More importantly, it is the fuel that reshapes how emergencies are managed.

Healthcare has been at the forefront of policy initiatives for decades, because the system isn't working for numerous reasons. Legislation that supports the Community Paramedic Program, however, can be a catalyst for reshaping healthcare in a positive direction.

As new programs emerge to help solve some of the logistical and managerial problems associated with emergency management, new concepts may emerge for what programs should be implemented as state and federal policies. As the Community Paramedic Program gathers steam and agencies work to implement the concept throughout the country, more and more states may work to create legislation to support the program.

Furthermore, the Community Paramedic Program may very well shape how healthcare is administered in the United States. More importantly, we may witness it becoming a federal policy as more and more evidence suggests that the program may be essential in resource allocation.

Start an Emergency & Disaster Management Degree at American Military University.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.