Culture of Safety Strategy To-Do Lists: Individuals


Culture of Safety Strategy To-Do Lists: Individuals

By John Erich Dec 03, 2012

Achieving a national culture of safety in EMS is a long process, notes Sabina Braithwaite, MD, chair of the Culture of Safety Strategy Project’s steering committee, but one that comes with intermediate wins. What that means is that stakeholders of all stripes can take positive steps today, even unilaterally, that contribute to a safer work environment.

The strategy document lists some of these. See below to learn what you can do as an individual (e.g., single provider, physician/medical director, educator, researcher, vendor) to enhance the safety cause and help develop our much-needed safety culture. For what groups (e.g., provider agencies, associations, standard-setting bodies, local/state government, media) can do, see this list.

Individual Practitioners

Be open to any team members raising safety concerns, regardless of their tenure and rank;

Be willing to report errors;

Collaborate with management;

Seek opportunities to expand knowledge base on culture, patient safety, latest info and research on clinical safety, responder safety, personal protective equipment, etc., and be willing to bring these to the attention of management;

Ask medical director what can be done to improve safety for responders, patients and the public;

Report safety hazards;

Perform safety checks, vehicle inventory and safety inspections conscientiously;

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Be willing to speak up when a partner or other responder seems fatigued or under mental or emotional stress;

Maintain personal physical well-being, get enough sleep and exercise;

Take advantage of CE opportunities to learn about your own physical and mental wellness.

EMS Physicians & Medical Directors

Work to ensure that local EMS services are addressing EMS safety through current training and updated operational procedures;

Continue to ensure EMS safety is a priority in local EMS services through training and operational procedures that are developed based on evidence-based research and national standards.


Encourage development of curricula that introduce safety culture and safety practices related to patient safety, occupational safety and public safety;

Future editions discuss safety;

Education for leaders;

ID high-risk individuals in class;

Focus on education that builds clinical judgment beyond technical skills;



Establish a better understanding of safety culture in EMS nationwide by encouraging local EMS agencies to measure their safety culture using reliable and valid tools (e.g., the EMSSAQ). This may be accomplished individually by the agency or by taking part in a national effort (e.g.,;

There is a lack of reliable and valid tools to measure safety in EMS. Continue to develop and test measurement tools to quantify the magnitude of problems in EMS responder safety, patient safety and safety of the public;

Develop research to define fatigue mitigation and fatigue modeling for ground service personnel as is done with air medical teams. Develop risk assessment tools to measure fatigue;

Build confidence in measurement before moving to research on interventions to impact behavior and practices at the front line;

Examine the evidence of how EMS workers get injured and the reasons EMS workers leave the profession, and then develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions to prevent their injuries and improve their health.

EMS Vendors and Manufacturers

Engineer fail-safe devices and mechanisms to increase both provider safety and patient safety—i.e., features that make it difficult to be unsafe;

Directly engage end users (providers) in product development and marketing;

Focus on how engaging end users/customers makes EMS safer in product design and development phases;

Participate in discussions with providers regarding their culture of safety;

Search throughout the world to find solutions that could be brought to the U.S.;

Openly report on product testing and evaluation, initially and periodically as necessary;

Release conflict of interest statements while attending all conferences, seminars or educational functions (other than the obvious);

Identify “off-label” uses of equipment and provide statements directly addressing the potential impacts to provider, patient and public safety;

Consider a product failure notification network for equipment and product failure not covered under existing law;

Adopt cost/safety model in the development of products (i.e., safety at what cost; options for those who can’t afford).

The budget cut allowed the department to cross-staff, using firefighters to staff ambulances due to medical calls outnumbering fire calls.
One of the two Northern California wildfires have been fully contained due to cooler temperatures and light rain.
All EMS, fire, and law enforcement agencies in the county will participate in the drill along with 100 volunteers portraying victims of the shooting.
Only one of three in the country, the "rapid extrication team" assists in rescuing injured firefighters while local crews battle the forest fires.
Duracell's disaster relief program has provided batteries to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana so people can operate their phones, flashlights, radios and other necessary devices.
In addition to sending representatives from a dozen agencies to tend to California, FEMA has sent meals, water, blankets and cots to shelters and provided emergency funds to fire departments and residents.
AMR has deployed disaster response teams from California and across the United States in support of the disastrous wildfires plaguing Northern California.
The drill involved a simulated chemical attack on Campanelli Stadium.
Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena told City Council the department doesn't have sufficient funding to provide adequate training or replace outdated rescue equipment and trucks.
New evidence reveals a full six minutes elapsed between the time Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security officer and when he started shooting at the concertgoers outside, leading authorities to question police response in that timeframe.
California is struggling to contain one of its deadliest wildfire outbreaks with eight counties now under states of emergency.
In the wake of recurring tragedies like the Las Vegas shooting, St. Lucie County Fire District aims to protect its EMS and fire personnel in the event of a life-threatening call.
Hospitals, residential areas and senior centers have been evacuated as multiple fires continue to ravage Northern California, requiring every fire service and strike team in the region to battle the flames.
Residents are urged to remain indoors because first responders must take shelter as soon as winds pick up to 60mph, keeping them from being able to respond to 9-1-1 calls.
New Haven's emergency services has a very comprehensive incident command system and drills first responders regularly for scenarios like active shooters and bus crashes.