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National EMS Memorial to Honor First Responders

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

The National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation is an important supporter of legislation that would “establish a permanent EMS memorial in Washington, D.C., or its environs to honor, recognize and remember the commitment, service and sacrifice of the Nation’s EMS heroes who have died in the line of duty and for those who continue this service commitment and sacrifice.”

On October 12, the Senate adopted House bill H.R.1037 to authorize the creation of a national EMS memorial that will honor the sacrifices of first responders. The bill is now at the White House awaiting the President’s signature.

The lawmakers’ support is significant because it will foster greater understanding of the commitment and dedication that emergency medical technicians and paramedics have to their community and neighbors.

This important piece of legislation does more for emergency medical services than simply  commemorate lives lost in the line of duty. The memorial will educate the public about the various roles that EMTs and paramedics play in their communities every day.

Developing Awareness and Support of EMS Agencies

The hope is that with the appropriate education, citizens will better understand the different issues that others in their neighborhoods face daily. These issues include autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others.

Greater awareness of public health issues is a fundamental step to move society in a positive direction. This foundational piece of legislation is important because creating this memorial will educate the public and lead to new public health policy initiatives.

The Memorial’s Impact on Public Health Policy

Many people do not realize that quite a few first responders have been killed in the line of duty. Erecting a memorial to EMTs and paramedics is a big step forward in recognizing a profession that is often an afterthought when it comes to public safety agencies.

Although they are considered among the “quieter” public safety organizations, first responders put themselves in harm’s way whenever they respond to a 911 call. Despite being trained to recognize potential hazards before they approach an emergency scene – whether it’s a building on fire or a bad auto accident – first responders know that a site could rapidly turn into a serious, life-threatening situation.

New Memorial Is Important Step toward National Recognition of EMS Sacrifices

The creation of a national memorial will be an important step in calling attention to the daily dangers and sacrifices of emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

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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