Open house


Forum Ride Along
Hey folks! I want to put together an open house for my volunteer department, but I just don’t know where to start. I know offering food would be a good thing. Any ideas on what kind of demonstration or activities would be a good idea? The goal is to pull more people into volunteering as we only have 4 EMS people and only two of us are reliable.


Forum Lieutenant
Are you mostly fire then? I'd think you couldn't have an agency with only 4 people.

  • Have a bounce house for keeping kids entertained, plus a nice visual to be seen from the roadway.
  • BP and glucose checks (if permitted by your OMD and protocols for invasive procedures for non-patients).
  • Have educational stuff to hand out. Your state office may have preprinted materials available for a slight fee.
  • We usually include playing Jenga using the cribbing and the extrication equipment.
  • Or use the spreaders (jaws of life) to move an egg from the top of a traffic cone to another traffic cone a few feet away.
  • Equipment and building tours.
  • Demonstration of a patient assessment, with an actor as patient. Trauma patient is usually more interesting than a medical scenario. You could have an audience member pick the scenario out of a hat, and then that's what your actor acts out.
  • Have your local helicopter service do a PR event, you'll get lots of attention with a helicopter in your parking lot.
  • Get a car donated and cut it up to extricate someone.
  • Make sure you get the local press involved early.
  • Have bingo cards available, with different things around the station that they can check off to get a price of some sort (there are bingo card generators online so everyone's card isn't the same).
  • Film some commentary from a few patients you've helped and have that playing on a loop.
  • Have stats available on how many calls you run per month, year, shift. How long does a call take? Do you sleep at the station, or respond from home?
  • Be able to have specifics on when the next EMT certification class is.
  • Have CPR mannequins available and teach how to do CPR on a loved one.
Most important thing to include: Have all of your members at the event. In the end, it's the people who will recruit new members. If your agency is an exclusive club, you won't get Joe Public off the street to join.

Longer term, get active in the high school and start an explorer or Junior program. High schoolers applying to any kind of medical program at a college need to have patient contacts and experience to even get started. They can get both of those at your agency. The problem is, much of the investment you pour into those high school contacts won't pay off for your agency for several years as most high schoolers can't become operators or AICs, and right when they are eligible to do those roles, they leave for college. Hopefully they will return to the community after college and stay involved with your agency.