With EMS awards ceremonies, a chance to reflect

Awards ceremonies allow us to appreciate work done at all levels, from the dispatchers and field providers to the supervisors, managers and administrators.

Yesterday the California State EMS Authority held its third annual awards ceremony and luncheon in San Francisco. As a member of the applicant review committee I had a great sense of pride in those colleagues that truly represent the best that EMS has to offer and richly deserve recognition and praise for jobs well done.

It wasn't always this way. While California has a long, rich history in the development of EMS systems, it often failed to recognize the work of the folks involved. The success of the system totally depends upon the strong work done by all levels, from the dispatchers and field providers to the supervisors, managers and administrators. Throw in educators, fleet maintainers and interagency relations, and you can see just how complex an EMS system really is. Lest I forget, perhaps the most critical component of an EMS system is the community it serves and protects. They are the consumers and supporters of our efforts. They are also the lynchpin of a successful response through early notification and intervention.

So, we celebrated the work of all of these folks yesterday. Looking through the awards list, it was very reflective of the entire EMS system. Recipients included:

  • A family whose successful efforts to rescue a young woman who had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge undoubtedly saved her life
  • Dispatchers and field providers that made a difference between life and death, both on and off duty
  • An educator who, over a long career has trained nearly every provider working in the program's area and beyond;
  • Community training that resulted in a bystander being able to save a life; and
  • Leaders throughout all levels who made EMS evolve in a very large state.

No doubt, California EMS has its ups and downs, just like all other states. We have the challenge of being a state that stretches the distance from roughly New York to Florida. That can also be to our benefit, for its diversity of its geography, its politics and its citizens. That diversity shined bright on the folks whose mission is to provide prompt, compassionate care to those in need, on perhaps the worst day of their lives.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at Art.Hsieh@ems1.com and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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