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How changing times, changing policies could result in additional Tactical Emergency Medical Support resources

06 Oct 2017 11:31 AM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Allison G. S. Knox, IPSA TEMS Committee Member

There are numerous social science theories surrounding the notion that society affects policy and policy affects society. An important theory that highlights some of the key factors of policy development is that of Multiple Streams Framework. John Kingdon's arguments in his book, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies highlight some of the ways policies emerge in the American government system in response to the needs of society. Kingdon's ideas also potentially explain how public safety agencies may have an opportunity to further promote the development of more Tactical Emergency Medical Support departments throughout the United States.

Society, policy and active shooter

Numerous political scientists argue that society impacts policy and policy subsequently impacts society. We have seen this in recent times, particularly as different social issues become major problems requiring some sort of intervention on behalf of the government. Recently, one of these issues has become a global concern: handling active shooter events and preventing them from ever taking place.

These tragic events are creating all sorts of policy problems that politicians are desperate to fix. The situation is dire, and public safety agencies are also working tremendously hard to create realistic protocols and procedures to prevent as much loss of life as possible.

Opportunity for change

Kingdon argued that three streams would come together creating a window of opportunity for a new policy to emerge: politics, problems and policies. These streams are essentially major issues in society that emerge creating a window of opportunity to change policy for the better. Active shooter events have put tremendous pressure on local governments to develop new concepts for handling these special circumstance emergencies.

This crisis has created a window of opportunity, as Kingdon would suggest, for new policies to emerge in response to the active shooter events in our society.  

Protecting the loss of life becomes particularly important as active shooter events continue to evolve. It becomes more important, too, for local jurisdictions to work to save lives and to rethink how they handle such situations. This is one of the reasons why TEMS may have a window of opportunity, as Kingdon may have argued, because there needs to be new measures to handle active shooter events.

A paradigm shift

One of the most important things that emergency medical support can do is understand the important pieces of how the paradigm is changing. Of course, local jurisdictions are going to want to change how they handle active shooter events - particularly if they know they can increase the likelihood of survival for victims of the incident.

The window of opportunity may have arrived for such support as it is now up to department heads to push through the various policies they’ll need to create their own TEMS units.

Policies are created out of society’s wants and needs. Lawmakers will understand the wants and needs for a society based on a variety of different factors. Conversely, it can be difficult for some agencies to gain the traction for creating extra departments that local government officials may not see a need for. Budgetary constraints only complicate these matters making it harder to justify the creation of specialty agencies. 

Active shooter events, however, have created a window of opportunity for local governments to rethink how they may handle such special circumstance emergencies. As a result, there may be an opportunity for TEMS agencies to be created.

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