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Public Safety Concerns: How to be Prepared for Budget Cuts

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By Allison G. S. Knox, M.A., EMT-B; Faculty, American Military University

Since the 2008 bail out, Americans and members of the government, respectively, have been increasingly concerned about the health of the American economy. Slowly, Americans have watched companies downsize, witnessed job shortages throughout the country, and, in some places, seen their taxes increase.

Because of the economic situation, most states and local governments have looked to make cuts within their budget to make ends meet. Because public safety is a huge expenditure for most jurisdictions, it is often one of the first public policy areas threatened by budget cuts.

Unfortunately for emergency medical services (EMS), budget cuts are a reality that is all too familiar. Also contributing to most budget cuts is the overwhelming perception that emergencies don’t happen, (because they don’t happen to local government officials often), thus, funding for emergencies is perceived as not always being needed. Those in the EMS community need to be prepared for budget-cut discussions despite the overwhelming need for EMS in all jurisdictions.

Plan Ahead and Anticipate Budget Cuts
Public safety officials should prepare a plan for budget cuts before city managers come to them. Being prepared ahead of time can save time and resources and most importantly, public safety officials can be proactive in figuring out what the agency can live without—before they’re told what they will live without.

About the Author: Allison G. S. Knox, M.A., B.A., EMT-B is on the faculty at American Military University. She is also the Faculty Adviser and Chapter Sponsor for the West Virginia Iota Chapter of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society. In addition to teaching, Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician and worked in a level one trauma center emergency department throughout college. She participates annually in “EMS on the Hill”, advocating for legislation that will benefit Emergency Medical Services. Allison is working on her doctorate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and holds three Master of Arts degrees in Emergency and Disaster Management, International Politics and History. Her undergraduate degree is in Political Science. You can reach her directly via e-mail: Allison.Knox3@mycampus.apus.edu

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