Morganton, NC, USA. — On Earth Day 2012, the International Institute for Sustainability in Emergency Services (iiSES – pronounced “isis”) will formally begin operations in support of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community throughout the world.
iiSES is a multinational non-governmental organization promoting sustainability in emergency services operations. The group defines sustainability in terms of environmental impact, economic management, and workforce longevity, among other parameters.
iiSES currently brings together EMS personnel from Australia, Canada, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, and the Philippines. Additional representation is expected shortly from the Republic of Ireland and Bhutan. The organization is actively seeking representation from other countries with emergency services systems.
For many countries, the first EMS systems were formed in the early 1970’s. Since that time the clinical and operational sophistication of EMS systems has developed rapidly, including its recognition as a physician-level subspecialty in 2010 by the American board of Medical Specialties. While the clinical validity of EMS has been a focus of on-going research efforts, there is relatively less information concerning the field’s economic viability, workforce longevity, and environmental footprint. “iiSES’s major goal is to raise awareness of the issues in maintaining many of our ‘high performance’ systems,” says Ian Blanchard, an iiSES board member from the University of Calgary, Canada. “Their sustainability needs to be considered in light of increasing population size, population aging, increasing coverage area size, congested road networks, unstable energy supplies and fuel prices, increasing attention to carbon footprint, and employee burnout, fatigue and injury — to name but a few issues.”
iiSES will begin by highlighting the few empirical studies addressing these issues, and will promote future research and publications. It will also provide a clearinghouse for various forms of literature and information on sustainability innovations in EMS and emergency services. Once a body of evidence-based and consensus opinion literature has been established, iiSES will begin developing best practices and position papers on sustainability issues.
“There are relatively few sustainability performance measures currently accepted in the EMS industry,” says Dr. Seth Collings Hawkins, iiSES founder and Executive Director. “We aim to challenge the idea that short-term emergency services and long-term sustainability are incompatible or mutually irrelevant.” “In fact,” Hawkins states, “sustainability might be the most important unifying concept for emergency services management in the 21st century.”
More information is available at the iiSES website, greenems.org, including contact information for those interested in joining this international initiative.