Personal Safety Awareness For EMS Personnel

Topic: Personal Safety Awareness for EMS Personnel


The emergency medical service is constantly exposed to danger in the form of an unsafe scene, patients who become violent, or exposure to contagious diseases. Each member of the emergency medical services community has the responsibility to protect their crew members as well as him/herself. Personal safety must be considered before patient safety.

Student Performance Objective (SPO): Given information from discussion, handouts, and reading materials, describe and recognize personal safety concerns related to emergency medical operations that may require corrective action.

Enabling Objectives (EO):

EO 1-1-1 Identify certain emergency medical services personal practices that could be considered unsafe and result in injury or death.


   • Safety Awareness Checklist


This drill is intended to be conducted as an interactive discussion between the discussion leader (instructor) and the participants rather than a safety lecture. Everyone is expected to actively participate. This should be used a more of a brain-storming session with the possibility of getting new ideas to increase safety awareness in the department. Care should be exercised to avoid criticizing any comments since this may inhibit participation.

The list is by no means all inclusive and in only limited by the knowledge and expertise of the members.

The outline is presented in the form of a personal safety checklist or a series of questions with no specific right or wrong answer. During the discussion, the reason for each item being considered unsafe should be explained along with some suggestions of actions that could be taken to make the action safer.

  1. Do you hydrate on a regular basis so that you are ready for the next incident, work activity, or

      training session?

  2. Are you in good health and physical condition when you are on duty?

  3. Do you get sufficient rest so that you are ready to perform when the need arises?

  4. Are you careful about following instructions when taking medication, especially medication that may

      induce drowsiness or impair body or mental functions?

  5. Do you listen to the dispatch when receiving an alarm so that you will get all the information that is

      being transmitted?

  6. Are you current in your immunizations against hepatitis?

  7. Do you avoid running to board the ambulance?

  8. Are you complacent on certain types of alarms or alarm locations?

  9. Do you observe presence of vapors or clouds as you approach the scene that may indicate the

      presence of a hazardous substance release?

  10. Do you observe the type of occupancy as you approach the scene to gain a better understanding

       of the type of incident?

  11. Do you look out for placards or other indications of hazardous materials as you approach the


  12. Are you seated and wearing a seatbelt whenever the ambulance is in motion?

  13. Do you watch for traffic conditions as you respond to the scene?

  14. Do you make sure that the scene is safe as you approach the scene especially where weapons

        may be involved?

  15. Do you wait for the ambulance to come to a full stop before entering or exiting?

  16. Do you watch for traffic as you exit or work around the ambulance at the emergency scene?

  17. Do you make sure that the scene is safe before you exit the ambulance?

  18. Do you watch out for other arriving apparatus when exiting the ambulance or working on the

        emergency scene?

  19. Do you establish or observe the safe work zone at an incident?

  20. Do you practice body substance isolation that is appropriate for the incident?

  21. Do you wear clothing appropriate for the incident (medical emergency, vehicle accident, fire,

        hazardous materials incident, etc.) to increase your protection level?

  22. Do you utilize respiratory protection in an immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH)


  23. Do you wear appropriate clothing for inclement weather especially for extended operations?

  24. Do you wear eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) on the emergency scene?

  25. Do you wear hearing protection when working with any equipment generating noise such as a

        generator, power saw, or rescue tool power unit?

  26. Do you watch for open compartment doors as you work around the ambulance?

  27. Do you avoid running on the emergency scene?

  28. Do you take proper precautions on slippery surfaces such as ice?

  29. Do you communicate with other team members when loading and unloading patients?

  30. Do you take proper precautions with patients who may become violent to avoid personal injury?

  31. Do you have a means of escape when a patient becomes violent?

  32. Do you constantly monitor patients for any reaction to medications, illnesses, or controlled


  33. Do you use proper techniques when placing patients on movement devices such as long

        backboards to avoid awkward positions or lifting?

  34. Do you use a face mask when performing artificial respiration?

  35. Do you take proper precautions when working around motor vehicles equipped with

        supplemental restraint systems?

  36. Do you take proper precautions when preparing to enter structures where an individual may have

        attempted to take their life using carbon monoxide or liquefied petroleum gas (propane)?

  37. Do you take proper precautions when operating at the scene of a drug overdose, intoxicated

        patient, or a domestic situation?

  38. Do you take proper precautions when working with sharps?

  39. Do you use proper lifting techniques when handling the stretcher?

  40. Do you take proper precautions when handling soiled uniforms or other clothing to make sure that

        it has been cleaned?

  41. Do you take proper precautions when laundering items to avoid cross contamination?

  42. Do you recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and participate in an employee assistance


  43. Do you take advantage of critical incident stress debriefings following an incident?


   • Safety Awareness Checklist

REMOTIVATION: Safety begins with each individual member of the fire and rescue service. The brothers and sisters of the fire and rescue service must watch out for each other to avoid causing injury to themselves or others. The bottom line is that everyone goes home from each incident or other activity safely and is able to go on the next incident. An injury or death statistic is one that each of us is better being let out of. Safety begins with you.