Understanding the Importance of EMS Week
EMS week, May 21st-May 26th, is a weeklong celebration created to support and celebrate First Responders. Every day, Police, Fire, Dispatch, and EMS put themselves in harm’s way to provide care, safety, and medical services to our community. These are the unseen heroes who walk our streets daily and should be recognized more than once a year. EMS week dates to 1974 when President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate First Responders. Communities across the United States will take this week to honor their First Responders and the life-saving efforts they take part in daily.
EMS week has special themed days to support the different aspects of Emergency Services. First is Sunday, which is Health, Wellness, and Resilience Day. This day promotes mental, physical, and emotional health for all EMS providers. EMS providers see so much in the field, and it is so important that they are taken care of emotionally and personally to provide the best medical care possible to our patients. Monday is Education Day showcasing public education programs and the importance of educating the community on life-saving skills. First Responders must go through continuing education as medical advice changes and equipment is advanced. Tuesday is EMS Safety Day. Overall, this promotes the safety of the EMS provider and the patient. EMS providers are constantly working through obstacles to keep our community safer, from being on the road 24/7 to purposely placing themselves in difficult situations to save a life or the 100-plus-degree heat in the summer. Wednesday is EMS for Children’s Day to highlight the children that our providers care for. Children have specific needs different from adults and sometimes require a particular type of care. Thursday is Save-A-Life Day which promotes Stop the Bleed and other programs. Stop the Bleed is a specialized program focused on educating the public on tourniquet use and stopping excessive bleeding before medical help can arrive. Lastly, Friday is EMS recognition day, wrapping up a week of celebration and fun. This day is to recognize our local EMS heroes and honor those who go above and beyond what is expected. During this week, LifeNet employees in Texas will have the opportunity to attend a lunch or dinner in each of our service areas, including Clarksville, Daingerfield, and Texarkana. Clarksville will celebrate May 25th, Texarkana on May 24th, and Daingerfield on May 23rd.
The first step is to understand the importance of EMS week, but it is also important to understand what exactly an EMT and paramedic do. When a 911 call comes in, a dispatcher in Texarkana will take the call. They will walk the patient or caller through different questions to understand the medical needs for this specific call fully. While the 911 caller takes the details, the transport dispatcher will call an available truck and get them en route to the caller’s location. Once a truck has arrived, the EMT and paramedic will work together to assess the patient and determine any medical needs at that very moment before transporting them to the nearest hospital. Both an EMT and paramedic are medically trained. However, one must be an EMT before you can go to paramedic school. An EMT can assess and treat life-threatening injuries with basic life support, while a Paramedic can provide more advanced life support and administer medication.
Once on scene, the EMT and Paramedic will assess the patient and take any necessary information from dispatch. They will take the necessary medical precautions immediately before they can transport the patient into the truck. One crew member will stay in the back with the patient while the other drives to the nearest hospital. When they have arrived at the hospital, crews will give an account of what has transpired to the nurses, and they will pass off the patient. When transporting a patient to the hospital, the use of lights and sirens depends on the priority level of that patient. A priority one call means non-emergent, and they will respond to the call without using lights and sirens. Priority two and three calls are emergent, and lights and sirens are used.
Our EMS providers work 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The safety and security of our community do not take a break because it is a weekend or a holiday. EMS week was created and continues to be celebrated today to bring these unsung heroes out of the shadows and highlight their hard and continuous work. If you see an EMS provider, thank them for what they do to keep Texarkana safe.