Monday, August 31, 2009

Yes it is that time again...

My name is Daniel R. Gerard, MS, RN, NREMT-P, and I am running for the NAEMT Region IV Director.

I started as a volunteer EMT in Newark, NJ in 1981, switching over to a career position in 1983. I became a paramedic in 1985, and I have served as an EMT Instructor, dispatcher, EMS Tour Chief, paramedic instructor, continuing education coordinator, college professor, clinical coordinator, QI coordinator, and EMS director. I have served NAEMT as Chair of the Paramedic Division, program development for AMLS, liaison to CECBEMS, and CAAHEP. Other leadership positions I have held, I am the past-President of the NJ EMT Association, past-Treasurer of the San Francisco Paramedic Association, and I currently serve as the Chairman of the Occupational Injury Prevention Committee for the International Association of EMS Chiefs. In addition I was the lead consultant for the ambulance service re-design in Hong Kong and I worked with the Pan American Health Organization in the Bahamas.

I have over 27 years in the field, mostly in the urban environment, working in Newark, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, Bergen County, NJ and Alameda County, CA.

NAEMT is a member driven organization. As a member of NAEMT I have consistently dedicated myself to the Association and the membership.

I am not running to advance my resume, to get a new job, to make money from our vendors, or to get free travel. I am running because I believe in who we are and what we do. I believe that we deserve better. I believe that as a profession we deserve equal consideration with other healthcare and public safety professions.

I seek this position with no illusions.

Every one deserves to have a safe environment to work in. Let me ask you question: How Many EMT’s and paramedics were killed or injured in the line of duty last year?

Ask the police and fire services and they can give you a number.

Ask NAEMT and no one knows. How do we begin to address the problems associated with occupational injuries and deaths when we don’t know where to start? How do we know we are on the right track if we cannot measure our success?

NAEMT has let us down in this endeavor.

While I was the Chairman of the Paramedic Division, I authored two reports on occupational injuries in EMS. We identified that the scope and magnitude of occupational injuries in our profession was impossible to determine. We made several recommendations to improve reporting and collection of data in order to reduce occupational injuries in EMS.

Seven years later these recommendations have yet to be acted upon. If elected to the Board, I will make it my priority to address this critical issue.

EMS deserve's our own voice in Washington, D.C. Let me ask you another question: Which federal agency is the voice of EMS in the federal government?

There are multiple agencies that have this responsibility in the federal government, and they all sit on the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS).

Yet none of these programs have budgetary authority and none of them may hire or fire personnel. They have the capability to write reports, but as of yet, in the entire history of the federal government and FICEMS, the federal government has NEVER acted on a FICEMS recommendation.

I have always been an advocate for a separate federal EMS administration. When the membership stated that they wanted a national EMS office on par with the U.S. Fire Administration, I was one of their most ardent supporters. The Institute of Medicine, a scientific body, had long ago identified that EMS needs a single lead federal EMS agency, yet we still have a fragmented system. Are we any better off today?

Since that time, look at the situation that EMS is in. In 2008 the federal EMS Office in NHTSA was funded for two million dollars, with a staff of 11. In comparison in Alameda County California, the County EMS Office is funded to over $28 million with 33 staff members. In 2005 EMS received only 4 percent of the federal funding for first responders. In the last federal budget EMS and trauma programs received zero dollars.

If you look to the fire service they have been very active, establishing a National Fire Academy and a U.S. Fire Administration.

Law enforcement has the Department of Justice, with a national academy run by the FBI in Quantico.

EMS STILL has nothing remotely comparable on the federal level. I am a member of NAEMT and I want to know WHY?

WHY doesn’t NAEMT support a SINGLE federal agency, with a national academy for EMS?

I will make it my mission to have NAEMT support the IOM’s recommendation, issuing a position statement supporting a federal agency. The membership overwhelming supports a federal agency, I support a federal agency, EMT’s and paramedics nationwide deserve a federal agency, funded and staffed to be equal with the police and fire services.

Let me ask you one more question: Do you work hard for your money? Do YOU WORK HARD for the MONEY that YOU MAKE to PAY your DUES to NAEMT?

How much money does NAEMT spend on travel? What is the result of the travel that the leaders of NAEMT have engaged in? What happened to the financial audit that the membership was told was going to take place? What happens with OUR money? Don’t we deserve to know? Where is the accountability?

If we don’t have a safer work environment and we do not have a federal agency representing our interests, what is going on?

Have you seen the by-laws changes proposed by the Association?

The new by-laws changes will restrict the opportunity for members to run fun for office, essentially limiting the opportunity for people to run, unless they have been selected by the President of NAEMT. Even the ATTORNEY for NAEMT said that the new by-laws change was a bad move.

Where is that letter from the attorney for NAEMT and what does it say?

So with unrestricted travel, no accountability for finances, and restricting who can run or who cannot run for office, how do you the DUES PAYING MEMBER benefit?

This is just an opportunity for people to use your hard earned money, without question, to support their own activities.

This is wrong. I will hold the organization accountable to the dues paying members, and I will do everything in my power to over turn the latest by-laws change that the Board of NAEMT is seeking.

Who stands up for you, the dues paying member? Who represents you and your interests and who want’s to do the right thing for YOU?


NAEMT is not an organization that benefits a select few at the expense of the many. It is a MEMBER organization, representing men and women, built on their personal and professional sacrifice. There is no easy way to success, and we shouldn’t exclude our brothers and sisters from seeking office to benefit a select few. In all of my time in EMS, I have always felt that EMT’s and Paramedics must stand up and fight for their own rights. There is no end to this battle, there is only a moment until the next battle emerges. When we are old and no longer able to carry on the fight, what we fought for TODAY will live on in the future of our brother and sister EMT’s and paramedics.

NAEMT has a DUTY to the membership. I have a duty to the membership. Stand TOGETHER with ME, TOGETHER vote for ME, and TOGETHER WE will carry the EMS flag to a new tomorrow.