Happy National Emergency Medical Services Week! Before we delve into the reasoning behind this national celebration, we’ll explore what Emergency Medical Services are. So, what is an Emergency Medical Service? Emergency Medical Services, more commonly known as EMS, is a system that provides emergency medical care. Once it is activated by an incident that causes serious illness or injury, the focus of EMS is emergency medical care of the patient(s). (source) President Gerald Ford authorized national EMS week in 1974, intending to honor EMS practitioners and the services they provide to the American people.
This year, we’re observing the 45th annual National Emergency Medical Services week from Sunday, May 19th to Saturday, May 25th, the year’s official theme slogan being “Beyond the Call”. (source) Here at Conover Insurance, we recognize the important contributions emergency medical service personnel make to society each and every day. So, who are these oft underappreciated heroes? Let’s take a moment to recognize a few of them.
- First Responders
First responders are the first medical service professionals usually on the scene of an accident or medical emergency. A first responder’s duty is to provide first aid, sometimes on an advanced level. A variety of services these folks perform include oxygen administration, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automated external defibrillator (AED) usage. Typically, medical professionals—like paramedics—will dispatch first responders from the ambulance, as they are en route to the medical emergency. First responders provide medical attention for the patient(s) until an ambulance arrives on the scene.
Much like first responders, paramedics administer medical attention to patients at the scene of the medical emergency and again in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. They perform CPR, execute AEDs, and can also administer drugs that first responders aren’t permitted to. A paramedic’s most crucial duty is “to identify and treat any life-threatening conditions and then to assess the patient carefully for other complaints or findings that may require emergency treatment”. (source)
- Emergency Medical Dispatcher
An emergency medical dispatcher is “the first point of contact [for the patient] whose primary responsibility is to initiate the appropriate response [a medical emergency might require].” (source) Dispatchers determine what kind of help a 911 caller needs; it’s their job to send first responders, ambulances, fire trucks, and police officers to the sight of a medical emergency.
Though we value and appreciate all healthcare professionals, it’s important to take this time to specifically honor the professionals in the emergency medical care industry. These are the folks we depend on to come to our aid during our trying and scary health emergencies. So this week, in honor of National EMS week, if you know or see an emergency medical professional, take a moment to say “thank you”.
written by Hallie Morrow