The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians celebrate National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 21-27, 2017. This year’s theme, Always in Service, brings local communities and medical personnel together to honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine’s “front line.”
“EMS Strong is a philosophy that guides our profession through the daily challenges and, often, severe conditions we face,” Dennis Rowe, president, NAEMT, said. “Those who wear the Star of Life proudly promote the health of the public, reduce injuries, save lives, and serve our communities every day.” Ref. American College of Emergency Physicians (2017, March). ‘Always in service’ campaign celebrates, promotes EMS Week 2017. Retrieved from www.ems1.com.
Among the challenges faced by EMS professionals is the safe storage of pharmaceuticals in the EMS environment. Many of the medications stored and used by emergency medical service professionals are required to be stored at controlled room temperature. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention Inc. (USP), a nongovernment agency that establishes standards intended to ensure the quality of medicines and healthcare technologies, defines controlled room temperature as 20° – 25°C with excursions between 15° – 30°C. Exposure to temperatures outside that range can lead to drug degradation.
Not surprising is that multiple studies have shown medication storage temperatures in EMS vehicles fall outside the range established by USP when confronted by extreme summer and winter climates. USP-NF has published “Emergency Medical Services Vehicles and Ambulances – Storage of Preparations”, wherein they provide a guide for EMS agencies to effectively plan for proper storage and carrying of pharmaceuticals. Understanding the risks and incorporating best practices that include the use of temperature-sensitive packaging for storage and carrying of medications may have an impact on the ability of agencies to reduce errors and risk of patient harm.
CSafe Global extends our gratitude to emergency medical service professionals who always operate with the best interests of patients in mind. Join the conversation with EMS professionals around the world about what it means to be #EMSSTRONG. Visit emsstrong.org