The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of EMS (OEMS) is one of RedFlash’s most long-standing clients. Since 2008, we’ve supported the Office’s communication and outreach needs to federal, state and local stakeholders. We bring our knowledge of public safety and generate outreach success. Starting with a data-driven strategic communication plan, we help the OEMS implement impactful strategies to position the Office as a thought leader organization that harnesses the power of EMS data to continually improve policy, operations and clinical care in EMS.
Addressing a National Challenge
The Office of EMS has a unique role to play in connecting the knowledge and expertise of NHTSA’s data-driven motor vehicle crash analysis teams with the prehospital care activities that EMS providers undertake daily.
Though EMS clinicians have every intention of getting to the hospital or care center safely, oftentimes providers fail to use proper seatbelt restraints on themselves and their patients. This puts everyone’s safety at risk. According to available data, among the annual estimated 4,500 crashes involving an ambulance, 84% of EMS providers were not restrained and 67% of patients were not secured with proper shoulder and lap restraints, often resulting in injuries.
How could OEMS help improve those statistics? How could they bring awareness to this significant problem? How could they help protect the safety of EMTs, paramedics and patients so they can arrive safely?
Where Strategy Meets Tactics
The numbers imply that this wasn’t a small issue, and to help increase awareness about how behavioral changes could improve EMS providers’ capacity to save lives, RedFlash worked with OEMS to develop a strategy and then a tactical plan to create the “Sit Down & Buckle Up” campaign. While the campaign included key messaging, web elements, speaking opportunities and media article placement, the cornerstone had to catch the attention of a diverse audience, have a long shelf life and be easy to share with a clear call to action.
Our solution? An eye-catching and informative infographic.
It was important to strike the right balance between being creative and informative, and a colorful, easy-to-skim infographic united RedFlash’s left- and right-side brain. The infographic provides bite-sized information in a visually pleasing manner…something important for both public safety agency leaders, and the providers who need to better understand the problem. Carefully selected statistics lent credibility to the Office of EMS and resonated with data-oriented audiences. Bold colors and custom graphic elements enhanced the visual appeal. Plus, the easy-to-print and post 8.5X11 format meant that agency leaders could share digitally, or download, print and place this buckle up “poster” in breakrooms and other common areas.
The campaign’s goal of generating awareness far exceeded expectations. Not only did the initial distribution accompany the cover article of a leading trade publication, reaching the publication’s 47,000 subscribers and 500,000+ monthly web site views, but the infographic also began appearing in webinars, presentations and blog posts by other organizations and individuals focused on patient and provider safety efforts.
Google “ambulance safety” (go ahead… we’ll wait). You’ll see that one of the top images in your search results is the Office’s infographic. Combined data, expertise and enticing graphics resulted in a deliverable that has been shared far and wide, extending this education effort far beyond the 1-year campaign duration.
Bonus points for both RedFlash and the Office of EMS…one year after its release, the infographic was acknowledged by the National Association of Government Communicators, receiving 1 st place for Infographics in the annual award program that – “recognizes superior government communication.”
The Office of EMS continues to encourage EMS clinicians to “Sit Down & Buckle Up” and remind providers of one of the easiest ways to help keep themselves, and their patients safe.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s safe to say a picture that combines both data and a clear call to action may be worth a few more.