Our chief, Fred Grambs, was asked to write a blog post for TechSoup, a national service that assists non-profits with receiving technology donations. The focus on this request was to describe how SWEMS utilized Google Workspace for Nonprofits to maintain operations throughout the pandemic, even when there were restrictions on assembly which disrupted all facets of operations including training, drills, and meetings.
SWEMS was lucky to have already implemented the Google Workspace for nonprofits a couple of years before COVID-19 hit. Because of this, every member already had an agency email and was familiar with the usage of Google Drive and Google Chat.
When COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, our officers quickly adapted and implemented usage of additional features of the donated Google Workspace product to ensure virtual training continued, especially to ensure all members were aware of the ongoing changes to safety protocols throughout the pandemic. Our training officer, Captain David Ruch, jumped into action by getting Google Classroom setup and distributing yearly required classes and additional videos to all members virtually. Assistant Chief and Infectious Control Officer Matthew Tucker utilized Google Meet and Classroom to distribute the latest information on the virus to minimize risk to our members and ensure all members were properly trained on donning and doffing PPE and performing proper decontamination of the ambulances and all equipment. Chief Fred Grambs worked with the Board of Directors to utilize Google Meet in conjunction with the large video display that was donated by the Polisseni Foundation to run our meetings virtually with just the core leadership socially distanced on the meeting room.
With all of these tools in place and the aggresive educational opportunities afforded by these tools, SWEMS was able to maintain readiness and respond to calls throughout the pandemic. We had no actively riding members infected with COVID.