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Every May, during EMS week, the division in which I work participates in fundraising and BBQ's in order to raise money for different things (eg; public AED's, Capsule of Life, etc). This year, there's been question about what "cause" we should support, and I've decided to put forth the idea of raising awareness for EMS, 9-1-1, and prehospital/community health. We're an ALS service in a very rural community full of farmers and country folk, and many of the residents in this jurisdiction are of the belief that an ambulance is just a big expensive taxi to the hospital. Part of the problem is that the ambulance service that formerly operated in this region was BLS, and quite frankly did VERY little to show any presence in the community, or educate the public.

What I'm looking for are ideas, suggestions, and advice for accomplishing a vague and generalized goal. I'd like to raise awareness about when to call 9-1-1, what we do in the back of the ambulance, what to do when you see lights & sirens, and begin spreading the concept of paramedics being "Prehospital providers" as opposed to strictly being "Emergency personnel/ambulance drivers".

An example of an idea that I've had is to put on a free first-aid/CPR course for the community, during which we will include some of the teaching points mentioned above.

If you have any ideas, or related past-experience in public awareness that you can share, I would love to hear it!

What do you think?

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