999 family need your help!

We need your help to put responders’ well-being at the heart of emergency services

Working in the emergency services can sometimes feel like a case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes. 

You’re so busy working for the good of other people, that you often don’t do the same for yourselves. 

Now, there’s an opportunity to make sure well-being of emergency responders is prioritised and put at the heart of organisational strategy.

I’m posting this blog to ask for your help in making that happen. It really won’t take you long but could make a big difference in reducing harm and saving lives of emergency responders, as well as the public.

999family agree #itsoktotalk 2016

Review of JESIP Doctrine 

No doubt, you’re familiar with the JESIP Doctrine – the guidelines that set out how emergency services work together for the best outcome at major events. 

review of the doctrine is taking place and JESIP is asking you for your feedback before April 5.

I’m here to ask you to please take some time to provide that feedback. 

In particular I’d like to ask you to consider giving your opinion on a specific section of the doctrine that I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to and which I passionately believe in. 

That section is 3.1 People-Centred Approach and is focused on having plans in place to support the well-being of responders before, during and after an incident. 

I tabled this idea to JESIP and it’s wonderful to not only see it included in the review but also given such prominence.

But I’m not asking you to give feedback on it for that reason, I’m asking you to give feedback on it because I truly believe it’s the best thing we can do to protect the mental and physical health of our emergency responders. Should there be more about wellbeing and feature a ‘people-centered approach’ throughout the doctrine? Should people be at the centre of the decision-making model? What do you think? Let me know – but let JESIP know by filling in their feedback form! Thank you.

Should 999 people be in the centre of this model?

Building the 999 family

Whenever I was attending incidents as a search and rescue paramedic, I always felt like I was part of a big 999 family. Working together with my 999 colleagues to help others is one of the best things I’ve ever done and I loved it. 

The camaraderie, the sense of helping people – it is a brilliant job.

But once the incident is over, everyone returns to their separate stations and that sense of being together can be missing… 

Having a joint focus on the well-being and resilience of responders when preparing for an incident and in the de-brief afterwards, would help to look after our emergency service colleagues beyond just the trauma and in a more coordinated way.

Grassroots support for 999 wellbeing

That’s what section 3.1 of the doctrine is all about.

I’ve never lost that dream of the 999 family – in fact, I’m in the final stages of hopefully securing a research grant from Movember for a project to provide Mental Health First Aid training for emergency responder staff and their families. 

But this people-centred approach by JESIP is one way of achieving that sense of family throughout the entire process of dealing with an incident – not just during it. 

By including it in the doctrine, I believe it will encourage a less siloed way to tackle well-being across all of the services and ensure it’s given the importance it needs. 

While making it a strategic priority that comes from the top down, should hopefully overcome any obstacles, such as budget restrictions.

Landies helping shape Emergency Responder wellbeing at Stormont 2020

Better well-being = better safety

There are some brilliant examples of emergency service organisations who already embody the well-being first approach.

For example, well-being really runs through everything that Scottish Mountain Rescue do and they use the hashtag #staysafestaywell to highlight this.

That hashtag really sums up the whole point of prioritising well-being and making it an integral part of overall strategy. 

The more you are able to stay well (mentally and physically), the better you will be able to stay safe. And the better you will be able to keep others safe. 

Let’s move Responder wellbeing to the centre of everything we do!

Working together, saving lives

The JESIP strapline is ‘Working Together, Saving Lives’. 

By making the well-being of emergency responders a key part of the JESIP doctrine, we’ll all be better able to work together and save more lives. 

I’m asking you to please play your small part and give your feedback on this idea to make it happen. 

You can read the proposed review of the JESIP doctrine here and give your feedback via this online survey. The deadline for feedback is April 5.