AMU Fire & EMS Original Public Safety

National EMS Week: Why It’s Important and How to Promote It

By Allison G. S. Knox
Edge Contributor

In 1974, then-President Gerald Ford created National EMS Week to support emergency medical services on a national level. This event was inspired by the need to create new policies for emergency medical services (EMS) agencies and highlights the powerful work of EMS professionals throughout the United States.

The 1966 report from the National Academic of Sciences, “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society” documented that many people were dying in car accidents. It also “revolutionized the way we view and manage injury in America,” and the report’s creators intended it to be a tool for strengthening our nation’s medical safety net.

Related link: EMS Worker Shortages, COVID-19 and Community Resilience

National EMS Week Is a Good Time to Promote Community Education

National EMS Week (May 15-21) is also a good time to showcase what EMS professionals do. EMS professionals respond to 911 emergencies and assist in the transport of patients between facilities, just to name a few of their responsibilities. EMS has also been called the “backbone of healthcare.” For ordinary citizens, this event offers an opportunity to learn more about emergency medicine, public safety and the importance of prehospital care.

Related link: Disaster Management and Properly Preparing for Spring Storms

Promoting National EMS Week Should Also Emphasize Community Service

Promoting National EMS Week is especially important for community first responders. Ultimately, first responders serve local-level agencies and communities by providing prehospital care.

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 an Intermittent Emergency Management Specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services, as At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. She is also chair of Pi Gamma Mu’s Leadership Development Program. Prior to teaching, Allison worked for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. She is an emergency medical technician and holds multiple graduate degrees.

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