Now, more than ever, we need to recognize and appreciate the dedication of first responders, in particular our emergency medical services (EMS). Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, EMS professionals have been responding to calls nonstop. They have been widely and rightfully hailed as heroes on the front lines.
Many of these EMS personnel have been responding to cases that require more advanced medical help, which means they may come across patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and who are struggling to fight the virus. EMS professionals very capable are able to do much of what emergency room doctors can, often in less optimal conditions, according to TIME.
Today, paramedics are often the first medical professional seen by a patient in distress and the last one seen in person by their family.
What is EMS?
Emergency medical services are easily recognized when emergency vehicles or helicopters are seen responding to emergency incidents. An EMS system is comprised of highly trained professionals, such as physicians and nurses, communication and transportation networks, hospitals and trauma centers as well as prehospital personnel and volunteers.
An EMS system needs to be ready every day and prepared for any kind of emergency.
Each year EMS week is dedicated to those working on the front lines. According to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), National EMS Week began back in 1974 under President Gerald Ford’s administration.
This year is the 46th annual National EMS Week. There are different themes for each yearly celebration, and the theme for 2020 EMS Week is, “Ready today. Preparing for tomorrow.”
Each day of the week focused on a particular service within the EMS system. We've broken that down below:
- Monday - Education
- Tuesday - Safety Tuesday
- Wednesday - Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day
- Thursday - Save-A-Life (CPR and Stop the Bleed Challenge)
- Friday - EMS Recognition Day
Our Favorite 4 EMS Appreciation Celebrations
While EMS deserve to be appreciated every day of the year for their lifesaving work and dedication to the job, the country gives thanks during this week.
Here are some of our favorite ways people, cities, and communities have appreciated their local emergency medical service crews:
Mayor Marty Walsh tweeted that Boston EMS are heroes. He went on to thank the EMTS in Boston.
.@BOSTON_EMS are heroes.— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) May 17, 2020
They provide critical pre-hospital care and transport patients so they can receive emergency medical attention, and they play an essential role in the #COVID19 response. Thank you to all the selfless EMTs in #Boston. #EMSWeekhttps://t.co/2mmqeBj8VM pic.twitter.com/RWKsjW2luM
Highmark Health donated 40,000 handmade masks as a thank you to EMS first responders. The washable masks in the Highmark Health colors are meant to be worn at home and for casual use. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted the senior vice president Tom Fitzpatrick as saying, “The purpose of it, really, is to help the EMS providers save resources so when they are not treating patients, or when they are off duty, they can utilize these coverings, as opposed to [wearing an] N95 mask.”
Mason County Emergency Medical Service are being appreciated with planned meals all week for the crew. In the Point Pleasant Register, Elisabeth Lloyd, who works on community involvement for Mason County EMS said the crew will be having a whole week of celebration.
Oswego County EMS is usually treated to a banquet that recognizes their hard work throughout the year. While that was postponed until mid September, it’s not always the big gestures that matter. Kenneth Dolan, operations manager for Donald F. McFee Ambulance Services told NNY360, “Even the simple things like saying ‘thank you’ on the take-out card in the meal they send mean a lot.”
In a day and age where we rely on our first responders, doctors and nurses and all those on the front lines of COVID-19, it is important that we say “Thank you” for everything they’ve done. EMS Week focuses on preparing the country for whatever tomorrow brings.
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