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National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week is May 17-23, 2020. The first EMS Week was designated by proclamation in November 1974, by President Gerald Ford. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians has partnered with the American College of Emergency Physicians to lead EMS week activities. This year’s theme is EMS Strong, Ready Today. Preparing for Tomorrow.   

EMS is a vital component of our nation’s health care and public health systems. EMS professionals are continuously ready to answer calls for help when someone is experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, or more traumatic accidents such as a fall or a motor vehicle collision. 

In Alabama and around the nation, EMS Week is a time when everyone should give thanks to EMS professionals who provide lifesaving measures every day without hesitation. “Throughout the year as well as during National EMS Week, we want to take the time to recognize the continued efforts of our EMS professionals and their selfless commitment to their communities and the health of the citizens of Alabama,” says State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, EMS professionals have been on the front lines serving their patients and communities by providing acute emergency care and transportation to these extremely sick individuals. Many EMS professionals have sacrificed time with their families, due to being quarantined after being exposed to or even afflicted with the virus. There have not been any line of duty deaths in Alabama due to COVID-19 thus far; however, we cannot say that about the nation as a whole.  Some EMS professionals have unfortunately sacrificed their lives on the front lines of the pandemic as a result of COVID-19. 

Stephen Wilson, State EMS director, said, “It takes great passion and dedication to work in EMS. These professionals work tirelessly to provide lifesaving care to individuals, often putting their own lives on the line for a stranger. Their eagerness to help others in their time of need is exemplified by their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only this week but every day, we should be proud of and recognize the dedication of these individuals.” 

We are asking everyone to recognize the efforts of paramedics and EMT’s during this week, and support the EMS services which are ready to come to your aid no matter when they are called.