For nearly 30 years, as the founder and president of Janet Smith & Associates-On Assignment, Janet Smith has consulted for scores of healthcare organizations, winning business for clients through strategic business planning, public affairs campaigns and proposal writing, including millions in contract awards. She’s overseen the public relations activities for nearly 35 EMS operations throughout the U.S.
Smith also helps clients achieve local, regional and national visibility through custom community relations programs, and positive media exposure. She and her team have produced more than 100 multimedia and/or video presentations for EMS companies, state and national ambulance associations, and other public safety organizations.
An ambulance driving down the road with sirens blaring and lights flashing is hardly invisible. And, how you look has a lot to do with building trust and respect for your agency. Consider implementing the five following tips to help you instantly present as a crucial player in the overall health and safety of your community’s citizens.
• Appear to be as you desire to become. Regardless of the skill, experience and expertise of the EMS professionals in your employ, cosmetics matter. The ambulance must be perceived as a pristine safe haven for patients. That means all ambulances need to be cleaned daily and should be free of any dents, rust or faded paint. Personnel must be professionally uniformed and well groomed. Your headquarters will need fresh looking exterior and interior paint at the agency headquarters; no trash in the parking lot; regularly cleaned carpets or floors; cleared clutter in every workspace, etc.
• Actively seek visibility and credit for your past and present acts by demonstrating corporate citizenship, charity and community involvement. If you don’t receive a formal written “thank you” for your efforts, there is no shame in coming back later when you need a reference letter for an RFP response or an endorsement for an award.
• Remember the largest percentage of PR value is in the “ask”, the “nomination”, or the “invitation”. So, nominate your company’s employees for national and regional EMS awards and for community awards.
• Publicize your company’s achievements, new services, and new equipment
• Align your company with other health and injury & illness prevention causes and advocacy groups.