Why EMS should be Considered during Business Continuity Planning


As business continuity planning experts, we at Interstate Restoration fully understand the importance of pre-planning and coordination for a range of circumstances—especially medical emergencies. In recent years, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems have become quite sophisticated and effective in getting people the care they need in shorter more quickly. The key is knowing what specific services are available in your area and having contact information ready when you need it. This blog post explains what EMS is, why it’s important to consider as you develop a business continuity plan, and what to keep in mind as you proactively put your plan in place.

What is EMS?
Emergency Medical Services, or EMS, are services designed to stabilize injured people and transport them to the right facilities based on their specific types of injuries, as safely and as fast as possible. EMS coordinates not only the evacuation of a patient from wherever they were injured, but organizes communication and necessary action between or among different agencies or departments and facilities such as police departments, fire departments, ambulance services, hospitals and specialized care facilities.

While the federal government regulates and sets nationwide EMS standards and policies, EMS responsibilities are handled by state and local agencies. The EMS approach was started more than 40 years ago by the predecessor agency to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While the program now includes many partner agencies, the NHTSA still plays an important leadership role.

Effective EMS Coordination Pays Off in Saved Lives
In the past 10 – 15 years, EMS practices have grown in leaps and bounds while being constantly finetuned for better outcome during an emergency. EMS response to the Boston Marathon bombings is a case in point. Agencies throughout Boston were already fully staffed and standing by for extra event-related emergencies, so when the bombings happened the EMS system was coordinating transportation and care for victims almost immediately. Boston’s effective approach to EMS event response made it easier to do things like compile patient lists for contacting loved ones quickly and accurately, finding assistance for specific patient needs and even securing prosthetic limbs that some patients would later need.

Why does EMS Matter to Business Continuity Planning?
In the event of a natural disaster or a human-caused disruption to your business, protecting and saving lives is the top priority. That’s why good business continuity planning should consider EMS. Gathering key EMS information does not take a lot of work, and it can help save lives and reduce the extent of injuries in unfortunate circumstances. At a minimum, here are a few steps related to EMS that your disaster planning should include:

  • Create a list of emergency organizations within a 10-mile radius of your business locations with phone numbers and addresses (but always dial 911 first in an emergency)
  • Compile a list of likely disasters or events your organization could face and the types of injuries that could result. Contact leaders of local agencies to discuss anything that might present them with difficult or unexpected circumstances.
  • Plan evacuation routes and meetup points for coordinating emergency response efforts after a disaster or event. 

Having a business continuity plan in place is smart business, and including an EMS plan goes even further to establish peace of mind for your employees, your customers and yourself.

Resources for EMS:
http://www.ems.gov/faq.htm
http://www.ems.gov/index.htm
http://www.jems.com/article/news/preparedness-paid-boston-marathon-bombin