Problems & Solutions: Finding the best practices for your organization


 
 

Jason J. Zigmont, MA, NREMT-P | | Friday, July 25, 2008


Volunteer professionals spend most of their time helping others without taking time to think about their own needs. This column, subtitled ˙Your Challenges, Your Solutions,Ó gives volunteers a chance to think about themselves and their organizations. Every organization has a trait that's exemplary, and it's time we share these best practices with each other.

With this in mind, I need your help. Send me your problems (and solutions) to share with other readers who may have the same issues. You can use your name or your department's, or I'll gladly keep your letters confidential. The key areas I will address in upcoming columns include:

Recruitment & Retention

  • What programs, activities or incentives have been the most successful in recruiting and retaining members on an ongoing basis? For example, have you seen results from your pay-per-call or length-of-service award program (LOSAP)?
  • What do you think is the leading reason people do or do not volunteer inEMS? Has this changed over time?
  • Why do your members stay or leave? Are their reasons internal or external?
  • What's unique about your organization that attracts volunteers? Do you go out of your way to recognize your volunteers?

Training

  • How do you keep your members engaged in training? How do you keep them coming back for training year after year?
  • How have the increased time commitments affected your department?
  • Have you successfully trained your members to improve the level of service they provide? Have you moved from a BLS to an ALS service?
  • How do you provide consistent, high-quality training? Do you bring in outside instructors or use your own people? Have you been able to improve or expand the quality by adding new technologies or methods?

Policies, Protocols & Procedures

  • How do you ensure appropriate staffing levels? Are you a scrambling group or a well-staffed volunteer organization?
  • If you're well staffed, how are your shifts laid out?
  • How is your organization managed? How are the leaders chosen? Do you have a paid management structure?
  • How do you handle mutual aid or dealing with other services? How many ambulances do you normally staff, and what happens when there are more calls than ambulances?
  • What's your relationship with your town, city or county government? Do they fund and/or help manage your service?

Fundraising & Grants

  • How do you fund your organization? Do you have a regular fundraising drive or unique fundraisers?
  • Do you bill for services? If so, how does it work? Do you outsource billing?
  • Do you receive funding from your community in addition to billing for services? Does your community help pay for your capital expenditures?
  • Have you found alternative funding sources or secured grants?

Individual Members

  • What keeps you volunteering? What gets you up at 3 a.m. for the routine ˙sickÓ call?
  • What's the most likely reason you would stop volunteering? Would it be a personal or departmental factor?

Model Departments

  • What makes your department special?
  • What challenges has your department had to overcome? How did you meet these challenges?
  • How's your department structured? Is there something unique about your structure?
  • Do you provide both fire andEMS responses? Are you part of a larger organization?
  • How do you survive the ˙lean timesÓ?
  • Whatare your ˙lean timesÓ? Do you have a partnership with a paid service or have paid members during the day?
  • What are your biggest challenges and biggest strengths?
Some of these questions may be difficult to answer, but I believe we can learn from all of them. Please send your thoughts, problems, questions and answers toJason@psecenter.org, and I will do my best to share them and provide guidance in an upcoming column.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Administration and Leadership, Operations and Protcols, Research, Training

Jason J. Zigmont, MA, NREMT-PJason Zigmont , MA, NREMT-P, is an EMS instructor, executive director of the Center for Public Safety Education and the founder of VolunteerFD.org. He's also a PhD candidate in adult learning at the University of Connecticut. Contact him at jason@psecenter.org.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New York First Responders Take Extraordinary Steps to Help Residents

Snow causes fire and EMS crews to go beyond call of duty.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Raw Video: Explosion and Fire at California Business

Over a dozen hurt in Santa Paula blaze.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Four Workers Killed at Texas Chemical Plant

Five employees exposed to methyl mercaptan in La Porte.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Worker Killed in North Carolina Bridge Collapse

A fatal construction site collapse occurred in Wake County.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Plane Crashes into Chicago Home

Pilot reported engine trouble after takeoff.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Switzerland Landslide Kills Two, Injures Four

Slide hits residential building near Lugano.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

World Trade Center Rescue

Technical rescue work is done at nation’s tallest skyscraper.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >