CSR Ideas: How to Support First Responders
If there is one thing the past few years have taught us, it’s that disaster can strike at any minute. From natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons to accidents, terrorist attacks, active shooters, and a deadly pandemic, whenever know when an emergency can occur. Therefore, now more than ever, we need to empower our first responders—those mandated to or have been trained and equipped to respond to an emergency.
Whenever we think of people at the front lines of disaster, we often think of doctors and nurses, and rightly so. But we also cannot neglect the middlemen in this scenario—or those who bring injured people from ground zero to the safety of the hospital.
If your organization aims to help your community in the long run, supporting first responders is a brilliant idea. Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Trauma Counseling and Education
One of the worst things we can assume about people who have been trained to respond to emergencies is that they have the mental and emotional capacity to deal with the aftermath of what they’ve witnessed. But studies show that there has been an increase in mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even suicide rates in first responders. In addition, constant exposure to traumatic circumstances and events can cause debilitating psychological distress for many first responders and front-line workers.
Unfortunately, not all state and local governments have the resources to empower and educate first responders regarding trauma and how it can affect their minds and bodies. This is where the private sector can come in—your business can help engage the firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), police officers, and paramedics in your community. Additionally, you can help connect them with mental health professionals who are also looking to donate their time. If not, your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) can also raise the funds needed to pay the therapists and counselors since they also deserve it, as well. You will be hitting two birds with one stone—helping two communities through one initiative, specifically—if this is a route your company is going to take.
Another way your company’s CSR can help first responders is by providing them with the equipment they need, especially since there has been a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially in the medical sector. It has come to a point where used medical gloves are cleaned, repackaged, and sold as new. One way your company’s CSR can help address this need is by partnering with designers who know a thing or two about sewing, and you can help connect them with first responders who might require more PPE. You can even take this a step further by helping your community’s fire department as well by providing them with fire-resistant PPE to help protect them from the upcoming wildfires, or even just to help arm them for the job.
The shortage in supplies and equipment is not just because there is so much demand but also because the state of the global supply chain is not getting any better, with experts saying it could get even worse. Your company can help shield your community from this reality by raising funds for supplies and equipment.
One fact about disaster relief that not a lot of people know about is that when a disaster takes place, and the community comes together to raise funds for those who have been affected, the money raised is only for the short term. Whatever money is raised in the aftermath of a tragedy is primarily to help provide for the immediate needs of those who have been affected, meaning their food, water, a clean place to sleep, and other essentials—and these funds only usually last for a couple of months.
There is always so much need around us, and we don’t have to wait for a disaster to strike before we can lend a helping hand. Consider making it your business’s initiative to raise money for first responders and their departments so that their day-to-day needs are always provided for and that they always have the resources to be the best at what they do—which is to save lives.
When businesses, especially those who were able to survive the pandemic, allocate resources to help their communities, they create goodwill among themselves and their customers. Look around you and see how you can help your community’s first responders during these uncertain times.