Tips for EMS practitioners deploying for combat

Deployment can add more responsibilities to your already busy schedule

By NAEMT

As an EMS professional serving in the military, your patriotism and valor are evident. Deployment can add more responsibilities to your already busy schedule and a multitude of tasks must be completed before deployment, during your tour, and when you come home.

To help you through these processes, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is offering some tips. We hope you find these tips useful and assist you in your preparation for deployment, while deployed and upon your safe return. If you have a tip you would like to suggest be added to the list, please feel free to contact us at info@naemt.org or 1-800-34-NAEMT.

Before Deployment

  • Understand your rights to reemployment by viewing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) – www.esgr.mil.
  • Know your department’s veteran policy.
  • Inform your department of your deployment timeline.
  • Understand changes in your benefi ts and compensation.
  • Discuss the promotion process within your organization.
  • Update your emergency contact list for you and your family with work.
  • Find out your department’s expectations for return to work and reintegration before you leave.
  • Establish support to make sure your family and pets are taken care of while you are deployed.
  • Get help with leases, rent, and credit card interest reduction through www.military.com/benefi ts/legal-matters/scra/overview.
  • Arrange for mail delivery, bill payment, and storage of vital documents.
  • Arrange for home security and vehicle storage.
  • Inform your licensing agencies and applicable registries that you are deploying and ask any questions about staying licensed and registered so you can work when you get back

During Deployment

  • Stay in touch with family.
  • Stay in touch with work; have someone send newsletters, policy changes, and new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)/Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs).
  • Find ways to stay mentally and physically fi t; your battle buddies, shipmates, and wingmen depend on you as well as those at home.
  • Seek out continuing medical education opportunities, refresher courses, and other education while deployed.
  • Stay in touch with your licensing agency and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) if you encounter diffi culties.

After Deployment

  • Take to heart the information you receive for reintegration with your family; they’ve been functioning without you during your deployment and you may have to “ease in” to their schedule to prevent disruption, hurt feelings, and other difficulties.
  • Update predeployment changes such as mail, bills, rent, bank statements, and other payments.
  • Take some time off before you return to work; you earned it and need it.
  • Schedule a meeting with your supervisor at work to acknowledge new skills, status of license, and timeline for returning to work.
  • Check with your first line leader, licensing agency and NREMT as applicable to make sure your paperwork is ready for work.
  • Take time to ensure treatment and healing for any injuries you sustained during your deployment; this includes Traumatic Brain Injury( TBI) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and wounds that can’t be seen by others.

Remember that most people at home — your family, your fellow employees, and most citizens — cannot imagine what you’ve experienced and been through. Find a veteran, find a member of your unit, or call one of the resources listed on www.naemt.org to talk if you’re having trouble dealing with post-deployment life. There are many of us just like you.

Welcome home and THANK YOU for your service.

About the author

Formed in 1975 and more than 32,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is the nation’s only organization solely dedicated to representing the professional interests of all EMS practitioners, including those in special operations and the military. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an NAEMT member.