The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA), in partnership with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD), is launching “Bystander Support” cards aimed at connecting bystanders who have witnessed or experienced trauma to available resources. RAA and RHHD understand not all wounds can be seen and bystanders can be impacted after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event.

First responders have programs in place to help them after they’ve experienced a traumatic call, but often bystanders who are not regularly exposed to trauma may be confused by what they’re experiencing or where to go for help. It’s natural to feel afraid, anxious, sad or angry. Most people will recover from these symptoms and their reactions will lessen over time. Those who continue to experience symptoms may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or simply may need to speak to someone to help put things into perspective. A QR code, located on the back of the “Bystander Support” cards, links bystanders to a list of resources compiled by RAA with the help of RHHD to help those who may need support following a traumatic event.

“This approach is part of RAA’s ongoing effort to provide whole health solutions for our community,” said RAA CEO Chip Decker. “We continue to work with valuable partners like RHHD to provide care that goes beyond the emergency room and supports the health and well-being of everyone in the City of Richmond.”

“At RHHD, we understand that trauma is not only witnessed but also experienced,” said RHHD Violence Prevention Program Manager, Lorraine Wright. “Traumatic events have lasting impacts on victims, the nuclear family, and school and faith-based communities. RHHD is committed to using a holistic, public health-guided, and healing-centered approach to Violence Prevention. RHHD’s collaboration with Richmond Ambulance Authority will help bystanders and witnesses get the support they need.”

The cards will be available to RAA’s Supervisors, Paramedics, and EMTs and will be used to engage bystanders if possible and when appropriate.



About the Richmond Ambulance Authority: In 1991, the Richmond City Council and the City Manager implemented an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system that placed the patient first and guaranteed its performance to the City’s residents. RAA is one of only 29 EMS agencies in the United States accredited by both the Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services and the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch.  RAA is also a Commonwealth of Virginia Accredited Dispatch Center.  RAA’s staff has consistently received local, state, and national recognition for their work in EMS. In 2023 RAA staff members were recognized by the Old Dominion EMS Alliance (ODEMSA) in two categories at the ODEMSA Regional Awards.

About Richmond and Henrico Health Districts: Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) are sister public health agencies serving our connected communities. Our mission is to protect health, champion equity, and partner to address local needs.