Thanking & Supporting EMS

May 20, 2021
Perhaps the best way to thank our EMS providers is to lessen their workload. Can we do that?

For many of us in law enforcement, we’re not aware that this week is EMS Appreciation Week. Yes, THAT EMS – Emergency Medical Services; the very people we depend on to stop our bleeding, splint broken bones and plug bullet holes to keep us alive until we get to the emergency room or trauma center. We may pick on them, laugh with them and generally act toward them like mean siblings, but when it’s all going to hell in a handbasket on the street, we certainly are glad to see them around.

With that in mind, we reached out to a subject matter expert in the EMS field to find out how we can express our gratitude toward EMS professionals and to find out how companies in the EMS industry are doing the same. We had the pleasure of speaking with Adam Johnson, CEO of Safeguard Medical, talking to use from their U.S. headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to speaking with Adam we weren’t familiar with Safeguard Medical so we also took the chance to learn more about the company.

Before we got far into the interview, Adam expressed his and the company’s appreciation for all Emergency Medical Services workers and volunteers. He was very clear about the importance of such folks in our society as a whole and the number of lives they can save as well as the amount of suffering they reduce. He also said something we never had considered before: while we recognize and appreciate all EMS personnel, sometimes they aren’t the first responders. Sometimes there are other citizens on scene that can render aid if they are properly equipped and trained. That last part of “equipped and trained” is the tricky part.

Adam said that he felt the best way his company could show their appreciation for and support EMS personnel is to provide the best quality products and training available in the industry. It’s the goal they strive for and continue to work toward. He shared the company’s mission statement with us and it speaks volumes about the company ethos:

Our mission is to equip and enable responders at every skill level to preserve life in any environment.

Founded in January of 2020, Safeguard Medical started out with the acquisition and consolidation of three companies from the EMS space: Combat Medical, Prometheus Medical and Trauma FX. They grew further with the acquisition of Waterjel Technologies in April 2020 and have grown again with the acquisition of H&H Industries just a few weeks ago.

If you’re familiar with the EMS supplies industry you recognize a few of those names and the products they have produced, some of them, for decades. Safeguard Medical sees its mission as more than just manufacturing or packaging products for EMS personnel. They also provide training and don’t limit that to “official” EMS personnel either. Currently Safeguard Medical has offices in the U.S. (as mentioned above), Hereford, UK and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Their training programs support appropriate focus and need dependent on the personnel in the course. From EMTs to Paramedics to Combat Medics, SWAT medics and college students, Safeguard Medical has appropriate training programs. As much as some companies use their training programs as a sales tool to push their products, Adam made it clear that he was proud of the fact that Safeguard Medical doesn’t do that. Their training is product agnostic and appropriate no matter who the manufacturer of your chosen product might be.

When we discussed the future of EMS, Adam divided the people involved into a couple of sensible categories just to determine training and equipment needs.

There are the initial responders. These are the citizens on scene before anyone in a uniform (or off duty) shows up. These are the average every day people who can make a huge difference if they have the proper training, as minimal as that might be, and just a few pieces of emergency medical care supplies.

There are the first responders: law enforcement, EMS, firefighters, military. These are people who have been trained to a higher skill level and should be equipped commensurately.

Both of those categories fit into what Adam regularly referred to as “pre-hospital” care. When you think about it, it doesn’t matter if the care is being provided on the floor in a store, a street, an alley, a classroom or a sports field. It could be in an ambulance, helicopter or the back of a mobile combat vehicle. Until the victim is on the table in the emergency room or trauma care facility, it’s pre-hospital. 99%+ of the time, it’s NOT being provided by a doctor, but instead by a person properly trained and equipped.

That’s the focus of Safeguard Medical and as we discussed the future our focus was on how that body of properly trained people could be expanded. Adam commented on how, in the UAE, the emergency medical programs they taught were part of the college curriculum. In Texas, schools are now required to have trauma equipment on hand and have teachers trained appropriately. This is forward thinking and others should consider replicating it.

Sure, we all know that EMS personnel, firefighters and law enforcement professionals should be trained to a higher level, but what about your average high school kid? What about all the teachers? What about college students, faculty and other staff? With so many deaths in our country caused each year by easily preventable blood loss, it’s mind-boggling to consider how many lives could be saved if we expanded our pre-hospital training across non-traditional populations.

In closing, Adam made it clear that he didn’t feel such training was “stepping on the toes” of EMS personnel, whether they volunteer or do it professionally. To his way of thinking, expanding the base of trained population would ease the workload on the EMS responders… and there are few things we could do that would express our appreciation to them more.

For more information on Safeguard Medical, check them out online: https://safeguardmedical.com/

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