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National EMS Week: A Chance to Recognize First Responders

National EMS Week: A Chance to Recognize First Responders

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

National EMS Week starts on Sunday, May 19 and ends on Saturday, May 25. The week was initiated by President Gerald R. Ford as a way of recognizing first responders.

The declaration was also part of a policy initiative to help develop the concept of Emergency Medical Services. Although National EMS Week has numerous underlying political implications, it can be a means of generating public support for Emergency Medical Services professionals across the country.

According to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, each of the five days of National EMS Week has a theme that represents the diverse nature of EMS:

  • Monday -- EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday -- Safety Tuesday
  • Wednesday -- EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday -- Stop the Bleed Day
  • Friday -- EMS Recognition Day

National EMS Week is a week that departments can use to thank their employees for the work they do throughout the calendar year. It is a time when communities can thank those that serve on the ambulances in both paid and volunteer capacities for their work in responding to 911 calls. The week can also serve as a key piece toward policy development when it comes to the needs of departments throughout the country.

Thanking Those That Serve during National EMS Week

Thanking those that serve in first responder roles is an important component of local politics. Politicians should ultimately make a point to celebrate those who work on ambulances during National EMS Week.

Conversely, Emergency Medical Services professionals should use National EMS Week as an opportunity to lobby for the needs of their department, while educating the general public and politicians about life on an ambulance. In doing so, National EMS Week can be used as a forum to start a conversation about first responder needs, an issue that often falls by the wayside the rest of the year.

National EMS Week can also play an important role in the policymaking process. While it is important to recognize the professionals who work on the ambulances, it is also crucial to start a conversation about agency needs at the local government level.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is also trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard and a Lifeguard Instructor. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.