National EMS Week or National Emergency Medical Services Week is May 19–25, 2013. This year’s theme is EMS: One Mission. One Team.
It is an exciting time because local communities and professional medical personnel are afforded the opportunity to join together to publicize the importance of safety. In addition, it is a time when those who often put their own safety aside in order to save the lives of others can be honored.
EMS Week originated under the presidency of Gerald Ford when he declared November 3-10, 1974 the first “National Emergency Medical Services Week.” The American College of Emergency Physicians or ACEP was instrumental in establishing EMS week. The observance was moved to September in 1982 and ultimately moved to the third week in May in 1992. The change was made so as to separate EMS week from Fire Prevention Week in October.
For over 20 years, The American Ambulance Association has honored paramedics, EMTs and other ambulance service personnel who epitomize the best of the best in the EMS field. The people being honored are designated as The Stars of Life by the AAA. They are selected by their peers to represent them in Washington D.C. as part of EMS Week activities. While in Washington, the Stars of Life meet with their congressmen and other Stars of Life. The week long event culminates with a banquet in their honor.
When a profession is populated with unsung heroes, it is a poignant event that can resonate with their praises. Some of the past Stars of Life recipients have included paramedics and EMTs who were part of the rescue and evacuation efforts at the World Trade Center on 9-11 and those who aided the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Often, the tributes are paid to the “regular” people who are just doing their jobs when someone happened to notice their heroic efforts. Many of the recipient’s stories are not publicized on the news but to some very grateful people, their heroes are even more important than those mentioned on TV.
Since the Stars of Life program was instituted, more than 1,500 EMS professionals have been awarded and are representing almost every state in America.
We salute each and every paramedic, EMT and other ambulance service professional during National EMS Week and every week of the year.
Do you know someone who should be acknowledged? We would love to hear from you.
First Photo: City of Syracuse Flikr
Second Photo: MonroeRegional