Two things recently caught my eye about the National Association of EMTs. They are moving to online elections in which all members can participate and they are hiring an executive director.
While the organization has been in existence for years, many in the EMS community consider NAEMT a club rather than a membership organization with any muscle in EMS. I have largely fallen into that belief over the years.
The previous structure in which a Board of Governors elected officers created the appearance--and in some cases a reality--of a good old boys club was ineffective and incestuous. In the past when I advocated for general elections the concern was that votes off the floor would be stacked for local candidates in the state/region the conference was held. The Internet made this argument moot.
There is also a move afoot to reevaluate the societies within NAEMT. Another good move.
Now that NAEMT has made some significant changes I would say this:
These steps are a beginning to becoming a powerful national organization.
You will need to choose your executive director carefully. Then you will need to create a job description and not micromanage him or her. The goal of this person should be to increase three things: voice in EMS, credibility and true members (not numbers inflated by freebies).
You will need to invest in meaningful leadership development for NAEMT officers and board members. We could easily elect popular people. This does not equal vision or leadership. Over the years I have seen highs and lows in this area.
You will need to get the membership to vote--and then be active in the organization. This will be the true measure of credibility and success. He who harnesses the passion of EMS wins.
Every year at the annual conference Ken Bouvier, Paul Maniscalco, Ed Sawicki and Gregg Lord pull me aside and lobby for NAEMT. They told me things could improve. There was potential. I was skeptical, but respected their dedication.
You now have my attention. I'm going to pay my dues and vote.
Plus, I like to point out good things on my blog from time to time...