EMS Week Celebrations Yield Year-Round Benefits

EMS Week Celebrations Yield Year-Round Benefits

By Kim Berndtson Sep 28, 2011


EMS Week is celebrated over the course of seven days each year, yet benefits can last all 365 days. That's because it's a win-win for everyone—for EMS personnel and the public they serve.

The week is designed to bring together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide day-to-day lifesaving service of medicine's "front line." For many agencies, it is that … and much more.

"EMS Week is very important for us," says Chris Stevens, PIO, Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), Eastern Division in Tulsa, Okla. "It gives us an opportunity to bring what we do into the public eye. I'm always surprised by how many people think all we do is put people in the back of ambulances and drive fast to the hospital. We need to let them know paramedics and EMTs bring care and lifesaving service to patients as soon as we make contact with them."

Chief Ken Wilkerson, Hamilton County EMS, Chattanooga, Tenn., sees some of the same challenges, and some of the same opportunities. "By participating in EMS Week we can let the public know we are more than an acronym," he says. "We can sell ourselves and our profession. If we don't advertise what we do, if we don't emphasize our profession, then we've lost an opportunity to serve the public."

Honoring a Job Well Done

For both agencies, honoring their staff is at the heart of EMS Week. It provides an opportunity to pay tribute for a job well done, as well as focus media attention on the industry.

A highlight for Hamilton County EMS employees is the annual white-linen awards banquet. Survivor reunions and celebrations, as well as recognition for civilians who make a difference, add to the festivities.

"During EMS Week we can mingle. We can see what we've accomplished and see the difference we've made," says Wilkerson. "Most of the time we function under high stress and close scrutiny. We don't have the opportunity to be lighthearted. At the banquet we can sit down and share good times as family with partners and team members. It's important to get together with people we work with, but may not see regularly. And it gives everyone a chance to put names with faces and voices in a non-work environment."

For EMSA employees, food and fun are the focus. An employee breakfast and lunch, highlighted by a movie night and events with the local arena football team are a few of the week's activities. "With our high call volume, this is a hard place to work," notes Stevens. "Our paramedics and EMTs work hard and carry a lot of responsibility. It's important for us to let them know we care about them. It's one special week devoted just to them."

Continue Reading

Sprinkled amongst the recognition and honors are public service announcements, media events, news conferences and health fairs aimed at educating the public. "EMS Week has been established, adopted and recognized," says Wilkerson. "One of the biggest complaints from EMS professionals nationwide is the lack of recognition and appreciation given to our industry. But if we don't take advantage of EMS Week to sell ourselves and publicize our profession, why should we expect others to do it for us? And how can we expect the public to know what we do? The ball is in our court."

Starting a New Tradition

While EMS Week has a relatively long history, for Kris Martin, volunteer with the Waynesboro (PA) Ambulance Squad, celebrating EMS Week is a recent occurrence, with 2010 marking the beginning of a new tradition.

"Our first year went very well," she indicates. "We received a lot of coverage and reached a lot of people."

Highlights included a health fair at two local Lowe's, a mock drill, school visits, a T-shirt campaign to advertise EMS agencies in the county and promotion of Reflective Address Sign Awareness Day.

"We hope to help people better understand who we are, what we do and why we do it," she says. "Hopefully, the more people understand, the more they will support us … with support being everything from financial support to simply moving over when they see lights and hear sirens."

Additional firefighters were hired to solve the problem, but some employees say overtime has only increased since they are still short-staffed.

Cincinnati firefighters and paramedics believe the laws should be changed to involuntarily commit heroin addicts to rehabilitation facilities to break the cycle of addiction.

A leading healthcare Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and data provider taps a marketing veteran to support Its rapid growth.
The girl happened to crash into the back of an FDNY ambulance, whose crew members got out and helped her stop the car and revived her father with Narcan.
High school students interested in firefighting can obtain hands-on practice with the fire truck and join a fire cadet training program after graduation.
The 25-year-old woman was found overdosing in her bathroom along with her young son, who needed several doses of Narcan to become responsive and was later discovered to have fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.
Firefighters, paramedics and EMTs from three different companies responded to a crash that left several passengers trapped in a bus stuck on a precipice off the road.
The QuikLitter Lite is designed to be lightweight and compact so multiple litters can be carried simultaneously to a scene.
The highly skilled team members practiced drills inside a local school in preparation for a possible active shooter situation.
Any first responders who are permanently disabled due to injuries that occurred in the line of duty are eligible for a property tax exemption following an amendment to the state's constitution passed last year.
Pulsara has been selected as one of the finalist's in Fierce Innovation Awards for its product Prehospital Alerting Package, an app that allows EMS providers to send patient information to the emergency department en route to the hospital for patient care optimization.
The Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management conducted an exercise for the county's Emergency Operations Center's protocol for recovery efforts following a category 4 hurricane.
Avaya plans to honor the Texas Commission as it sees the adoption of Kari’s Law build across the country, a law which would mandate any company or organization with multi-line telephone systems to provide direct-dial access to 9-1-1.
The company achieves a milestone of its first U.S. regulatory filing for a medical device which would aid in hemostasis and wound care.
Senators will have to vote on multiple amendments on the health care repeal bill.