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EMS Week 2024: 3 ways to celebrate

This year marks the 50th recognition of EMS Week, established in 1974 by President Gerald Ford

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Download a guide to writing an EMS Week press release for your agency by filling out the form on this page.

It’s almost time to kickoff another EMS Week and this year marks 50 years since the first EMS Week was recognized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford.

This year’s theme, “Honoring our past. Forging our future,” seeks to remind providers of the history of the profession as well as the advances to come.

As you look to elevate the life-saving work of your agency’s personnel for EMS Week, we’ve compiled a list of ways agencies can spotlight their value and commitment to the community. We also encourage you to leave tips in the comments for ideas that may have worked for your agency in the past that others could duplicate in their organizations

1. Alert the media

Don’t assume your local newspaper will independently realize the importance of EMS Week; make them understand. Here’s how:

Tip: Don’t gloss over the details. It’s often the unspoken moments of a call that are the most rewarding. The hand squeeze of a nervous patient looking for reassurance, the smile of a child after they are put at ease over a sick parent – these are the connections that tie the work EMS does to the community’s overall wellbeing.

2. Plan theme-related activities

Each day of EMS Week is centered around a specific theme:

  • Sunday: Health, Wellness and Resilience Day. This day’s theme encourages reflection on the health and wellness needs of EMS providers, and how agencies can work with personnel on increasing resilliency. Check out out our first responder wellness content for ideas to support this theme.
  • Monday: EMS Education Day. Compile a list of community educational programs that are available and distribute it via social media or other outreach avenues. This could include in-person or virtual opportunities for citizens to learn how to prevent falls, burns, poisoning or drowning. pprevent falls, burns, poisoning or drowning. falls, burns, poisoning or drowning.
  • Tuesday: Safety Day. This broad theme allows an agency to focus on risk and prevention needs and promote safety measures within the community and the industry. It can encompass everything from emphasizing the importance of self-care and mental health awareness, to scene or roadway safety measures.
  • Wednesday: EMS for Children Day. This is an opportunity for EMS agencies to reach out to parents in the community and make them aware of the specialized need for treating children in a prehospital setting. Consider planning an education event for caregivers on pediatric first aid, emergency preparedness and car seat safety.
  • Thursday: Save-a-Life Day. With the increased number of mass casualty incidents occurring across the country, this is a day to highlight how community members can reduce their vulnerability during a tragedy. Through social channels and other outreach avenues, plan to offer community CPR and Stop the Bleed educational courses that empower bystanders to begin early interventions. Get started by becoming a Stop the Bleed program instructor in your area.
  • Friday: EMS Recognition Day. This is the culmination of the celebration week – honoring those that put on the uniform and hit the streets shift after shift. Share pictures of your providers on social platforms, encouraging readers to “meet their local medics” and learn the “why” behind their decision to go into EMS.

3. Work with local partners to increase visibility, awareness and appreciation

Particularly after the last few years, businesses and organizations are looking for ways to remain engaged with customers and promote a sense of community. You may find that many business owners in your area are open to the idea of donating gift cards or goods that recognize the work of local first responders.

How to start:

  • Identify businesses that have local owners, including franchisees
  • Contact owners to explain the importance of EMS Week and the goodwill gesture of supporting providers in the community
  • Request a donation – such as goods, cash or gift cards – that can be bestowed to providers during EMS Week
  • Share photos and videos of providers receiving the donations and tag the business in social posts

The goal of EMS Week is to reaffirm the benefits of local responders and their role in the community and to highlight the life-saving work of those dedicated providers. Your community should take an active interest in supporting the work of those on the front lines in their area.

Download a guide to writing an EMS Week press release for your agency by filling out the form on this page.

This article, originally published in May 2021, has been updated.

Rachel Engel is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor of FireRescue1.com and EMS1.com. In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. Engel joined Lexipol in 2015 and has since reported on issues related to public safety. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. She can be reached via email.

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