Pandemics are a team sport – Understanding the vital role of EMS in public health emergencies 

Featured Speaker
Raphael M. Barishansky, DrPH (c)

Hosted by:  Robbie MacCue

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Raphael M. Barishansky DrPH(c) appears at the 4th Annual EMS Leadership Summit.

Since his start as an EMT he has never lost his connection to, or passion for, EMS even as he rose the ranks of public health to become Deputy Secretary for Health Preparedness and Community Protection at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a role he recently left after several years to serve as an EMS and Public Health Consultant

In this session Raphael Barishansky examines how EMS personnel can prepare for a pandemic, detailing different measures to be taken before and during an outbreak, such as planning with public health organizations and providing adequate resources for staff safety. He emphasizes the importance of regular communication between agencies and strengthening relationships with local organizations in order to ensure a smooth and timely response. Furthermore, the information discusses leveraging resources like the strategic national stockpile, planning for absences caused by illness, and providing guidance and support to medical personnel both pre- and post-pandemic.

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Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are at the forefront of pandemic response and must remain prepared and vigilant during and after a completely unprecedented pandemic situation. According to US health and Human Services plan issued in 2005, agencies must plan a pandemic as effectively as for a terrorist attack and EMS workers have an obligatory responsibility to report outbreaks. Government agencies should provide funding for public health and use of the national stockpile to combat an outbreak, while also remembering to adjust staffing patterns.

In order to ensure preparedness, a pandemic influenza plan should be developed with consultation from public health, emergency management, and local governments. EMS providers must assess, restock and re-educate their team on the differences between seasonal flu and pandemic influenza, and understand the use of PPE for protection. As advocates and innovators, agencies should focus on system readiness and invest time in effective communication and a single provider's ready-time bout should be regularly monitored. It is important to consider everyone in the chain that helps in battle-ready preparation, and utilize all resources to bulk up staffing, PPE and supplies to ensure all players are ready.

  • Pandemics require a collective effort from different agencies and entities.
  • US Health and Human Services recognize the vital role of EMS in public health emergencies.
  • It is essential to be ready to depend on one's own resources when addressing pandemics and other public health concerns.
  1. Pandemics Are A Team Sport: Recognizing the Vital Role of EMS in Public Health Emergencies (00:00 - 06:10)
  2. Lessons Learned From Recent Pandemics: Understanding the Role of Public Health, EMS, and PPE Use (06:10 - 12:03)
  3. Expanding E M S Capabilities and Capacity During Covid, H1N1 and Ebola (12:03 - 18:08)
  4. Planning for Pandemics: Understanding EMS System Threats and Preparedness. (18:12 - 24:15)
  5. Preparing for Pandemics: Strategies for EMS Enhanced Operations and Response (24:15 - 30:15)
  6. The Importance of E M S Preparedness During Pandemics (30:15 - 36:20)
  7. Never Have a Slow Day: Preparing for Public Health Emergencies, Internal and External Communication, and Strengthening Relationships Between Emergency Response Departments (36:20 - 41:57)
  8. Advocating, Innovating, and Inspiring EMS Readiness Amidst the Pandemic (41:57 - 47:05)

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Robbie MacCue

Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

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