Fall has been a busy season for the Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders. Not only did we provide first aid for a music festival at Waterfront Park (Nomadikfest), but we also participated in The Three Days of Preparedness Expo and Demo. We’re looking ahead next week to our first nighttime training event, which will be held at Manzanita Park. And through all of it we have transformed, like some sort of pupating insect, from WFRS to BIEMRs.
The branding change is a result of too much confusion from the general public. We are certified as Wilderness First Responders by Remote Medical International, a certification that shows we have completed training to respond to emergency situations in remote locations. But we don’t have to call ourselves WFRs, a name that for some suggests we have something to do with canine emergency response and for others seems to imply we are working in northern Alaska.
The fact is, when there is a large-scale disaster, like an earthquake, Bainbridge will, for all practical purposes, seem like a remote wilderness in terms of our ability to reach hospital care. So our training will apply perfectly to our community’s needs. But we can call ourselves something much more user friendly that clearly defines what we’re all about. The new name, BIEMRs, stands for Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders. When there is an emergency we will respond with medical care on Bainbridge Island, so it sums up our purpose perfectly.
The EMR designation is one used by national organizations like the Red Cross to refer broadly to people who provide life-saving care when access to hospitals is limited. Although it does not mean we are certified by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians as EMRs, our training is very comparable. We expect the name will be understood even beyond our Island’s borders.
Along with implementing our name change we’ve updated our logo and built a website and general Facebook page. It’s our goal to use these tools to inform the Bainbridge community about our mission and about the Bainbridge emergency response plan—specifically the emergency hubs and our role in them.