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Celebrating National EMS Week

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It’s National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week.

By Allison G. S. Knox

In the 1960s, the administrative functioning Emergency Medical Services in the United States – as we know it – was born.  After a 1966 Study, Accidental Death and Disability: the Neglected Disease of Modern Society, it became clear that Emergency Medical Services, (i.e., ambulances), were needed throughout the United States. The concept gained more momentum when President Gerald Ford created the National EMS Week.  It continues to promote recognition of this important public safety profession. It also remains an important week to celebrate the numerous contributions and sacrifices Emergency Medical Services personnel make for their respective communities.

During the past year, there was a tremendous amount of discussion about how COVID-19 has affected EMS and its resource management. And, while there have been numerous points brought to the forefront of the discussion, it is important to stop and recognize what Emergency Medical Services is and what it represents to so many people.

Emergency Medical Services includes the numerous emergency personnel that includes medevacs, fire departments, hospitals, dispatchers, ambulance transports and ambulance agencies. A unique industry, it also spans volunteer agencies where individuals give their services to help provide 911 services to the community residents.  Just like so many other professions, so many sacrifice so much to help care for others.

Every year, countless articles are published noting the heroic actions of EMS personnel managing another individual’s emergency. A recent article notes that a woman lost her leg in an amputation accident and was able to meet with the people who saved her life.

Other articles note similar stories of courage and sacrifice as EMTs and paramedics save countless lives through the work that they do on an ambulance.

More impressive is the fact that EMS personnel do not make a lot of money, highlighting their sacrifices in a truly remarkable way. An article published by the Nation notes the wage debate about Emergency Medical Services Personnel.

National EMS Week celebrates these individuals for the enormous contributions they make to their respective communities. It is ultimately important that communities take the time to recognize Emergency Medical Services personnel for their heroic efforts.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as the At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Secretary & Chair of the TEMS Committee with the International Public Safety Association and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. Prior to teaching, she worked for a Member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. Passionate about the policy issues surrounding emergency management and emergency medical services, Allison often researches, writes and advocates about these issues. Allison is an emergency medical technician and holds four master’s degrees.

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