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Want to run a good rehab operation? Start with this list.

Must do list for effective rehab… here's a few things you have to do in order to run an effective emergency incident rehabilitation. This is a good start, but just a start.

  • Understand the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association standard 1984 on emergency incident rehabilitation. In order to provide emergency incident rehabilitation services, you must have an understanding of what the requirements are. NFPA 1984 outlines the requirements and actions that must be taken to effectively conduct rehabilitation functions. Every responder should be familiar with this document. Every EMS agency that provides rehab services must not only be familiar with the document but be able to apply the procedures on the scene of an incident.

  • Operate autonomously at the scene of an incident. EMS responders must be able to operate without having their hands held while conducting rehab operations. The most effective rehab will operate within the established incident command system and will be able to carry out their assignment with little or no supervision.

  • Make decisions based on assessment data.  The biggest hold-back to participating in rehabilitation functions is history. EMS has to go beyond the outdated vision of some EMT chasing a firefighter down the street with a blood pressure cuff. Firefighters have to recognize that they will be returned to duty as long as no abnormalities are found during assessment. Decisions to treat and transport can only be made after assessment. Your assessment has got to include an understanding of the environment the responder was working in as well as baseline vital signs. Noninvasive monitoring of end tidal carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, impulse oximetry are vital… all EMS providers should understand what these values do and do not indicate.

  • Understand the response priorities of the fire service you're working with. The best way to run an effective emergency incident rehabilitation station is to understand the needs of those who are serving. An understanding of standard operating procedure in general tactics and strategy will put you ahead of your colleagues when operating on the fire ground.

 Got a suggestion on how to implement Emergency Incident Rehabilitation? I'd love to hear from you send your thoughts to or call the voice mail line 585–672–7844. You can also leave your comments here on this blog.

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