EMS Workers on Board with Wellness Programs to Improve Health

by: Nichole Gunn December 1, 2010

The Washington County Emergency Medical Services shared its innovative health and wellness program with the Texas EMS magazine.

Initiated a year ago, the wellness program requires “paramedics who want to enter the stipend program or want a promotion” to participate. According to the report, 60% of the EMS workers jumped on board.

The founders of the program, EMS director Kevin Deramus and paramedic Jared Lee took classes at Cooper Institute in Dallas for training, and created a program based on competition. “We award points for how long you work out, how much water you drink and how much weight you lose,” explained Lee. “If we are not taking care of ourselves, then we can’t take care of the community,” he added.

The competition lasts six weeks, involving running, walking, swimming or biking and participants are allowed to compete in groups or individually.

Southern Utah University professor Steve Barney explains that EMT workers get less exercise than the average American. They also “have higher rates of on-the-job injuries and a significantly higher incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder.” Wellness programs can help counter-act the ill-effects of the job.