From May 14 to 20, EMS Week will be celebrated. EMS Week is always celebrated in the third week of May. The theme of this year’s EMS Week is “EMS – New Century, New Hope.” The message is designed to recognize contributions made by EMS providers throughout the country. EMS Week is...
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From May 14 to 20, EMS Week will be celebrated. EMS Week is always celebrated in the third week of May. The theme of this year’s EMS Week is “EMS – New Century, New Hope.” The message is designed to recognize contributions made by EMS providers throughout the country. EMS Week is sponsored by such fire organizations as the U.S. Fire Administration, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Volunteer Fire Council and Congressional Fire Services Institute.
President Gerald Ford first signed the official proclamation designating EMS Week in 1973. Ever since, EMS Week has been celebrated each year to recognize the accomplishments of the men and women who dedicate their lives to saving the lives of others while educating the public about how and when to utilize EMS services.
Fire agencies should not pass up this opportunity to show what a vital component we play in our communities with the delivery of emergency medical services. EMS Week is an excellent chance to show our citizens how valuable the fire service is to the communities we serve. The other opportunity comes in October with Fire Prevention Week.
How important is EMS? Information put out by the American College of Emergency Physicians indicates that one in three Americans visits an emergency department each year; heart disease is the leading cause of death overall, but injuries are the leading causes of death of people ages 1 to 38; more than 9,000 lives are saved each year by seatbelts; only 75% of the population is covered by the 911 emergency number; and finally the staggering statistics that prove the fire service’s worth in EMS – 80% of all calls to fire departments are EMS related.
The American College of Emergency Physicians provides staff and financial support for the production and distribution of EMS Week promotional materials as a public education service. Each year, thousands of EMS Week planning kits are mailed directly to fire agencies.
So what can you do during EMS Week? First on the agenda should be to promote EMS and your department. Develop some type of activity that is unique to your region. As an example, if you live in a farm community, you may try to promote agricultural safety; if your department operates in a densely populated city, gang-violence prevention in the schools may be in order. Departments in states heavily laden with lakes or other bodies of water, such as Michigan or Florida, could offer classes on boating or swimming safety.
Most school proms are held in the latter part of May. This is another prime opportunity for promoting fire departments doing EMS. Many fire departments like to put on extrication demonstrations for high school seniors to discourage drinking and driving on prom night. One fire department calls this the “Prom-Promise.” After the education and extrication demonstration, students sign a pledge in which they promise not to drink and drive on prom night.
Being creative is key to being successful during EMS Week. Don’t hesitate to get sponsors who are eager to help, if not with cash, then with time, manpower or donations.
One fire department in Colorado gave children firsthand experience by dressing them in bunker gear and walking them through a miniature smoke house. The goal should be to reach the maximum amount of people possible. One EMS organization had information on EMS and themselves placed on trayliners in a local fast-food restaurant. The end result: over 20,000 people were reached.
If you have a business community where many people gather outside during the lunch hour, hold a fair with different booths and demonstrations of equipment. Booths could offer free blood pressure screenings, free ambulance rides or teddy bear clinics for children.