How your community can celebrate EMS Week

EMS Week began in 1974; here's how to get your community to issue a proclamation celebrating the men and woman providing care on the front line

Updated Jan. 5, 2015

What were you doing in May of 1974?

Some of our more senior readers might have already entered the EMS profession, inspired by the popular TV show Emergency!, which had debuted just a few years earlier. EMS was in its infancy then and just starting to gain momentum, with a big push from that national spotlight.

Another push for EMS in 1974 came from the first national EMS Week, which President Gerald Ford had signed legislation for the year before. The intent of the week is to celebrate the men and women providing care on the front line, while at the same time educating the public about what they (and the system) actually do.

In 2014, EMS Week was on May 18–24, and represented the 40th anniversary.

What are you doing to educate and celebrate?

One common way to do both, and get some media attention in the bargain, is to encourage your local, regional or state officials to issue a proclamation. The American College of Emergency Physicians, which creates an EMS Week Guide each year, has created an updated sample, which we’ve reprinted below. It’s interesting to note how the references to injury prevention, public outreach and being a member of the healthcare community and providers of care 24/7 are touchstones of community paramedicine and mobile integrated healthcare.

To designate emergency medical services week

WHEREAS, emergency medical services (EMS) is a vital public service; and

WHEREAS, access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury; and

WHEREAS, EMS plays a critical role in public outreach and injury prevention, and is evolving in its role as an important member of the healthcare community; and

WHEREAS, first responders, emergency medical technicians and paramedics stand ready to provide compassionate, lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and

WHEREAS, emergency medical responders are supported by emergency medical dispatchers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, educators, administrators, researchers, emergency nurses, emergency physicians and others; and

WHEREAS, the members of EMS teams, both career and volunteer, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate to recognize the value and the accomplishments of EMS practitioners by designating Emergency Medical Services Week; now

THEREFORE, I [name, title, city, state], in recognition of this event, do hereby proclaim the week of [date], as EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES WEEK. With the theme “EMS: DEDICATED. FOR LIFE” I encourage the community to observe the week with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.

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