One of the last lessons is the importance of the hotwash and after action report (AAR). It’s imperative that you have an opportunity discuss all the issues—what went well, as well as what didn’t, and what your agency can do differently in future events/incidents—at the hotwash, and just as imperative that these thoughts go into the AAR. The Eastern Seaboard hasn’t seen a weather-related incident of this magnitude in some time and the lessons learned need to be captured to benefit future responders.
Finally, it’s critical to understand how to present the realities of an incident—good and bad—and how your agency responded to elected officials. This can impact future funding for your agency and cannot be overstated.
As we reflect on these recent weather-related events, we’re reminded of our most important EMS resource—our personnel. As we’ve seen time and again, EMS providers overcome incredible challenges to get the job done. Learning from incidents, like the storms that ravaged the East Coast, prepares providers that much more for the next challenge to come.
Raphael M. Barishansky, MPH, is director of EMS for the Connecticut Department of Public Health. A frequent contributor to and editorial advisory board member for EMS World, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.