Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 27, 2015

Belatedly Recognizing EMS Week

Filed under: Public Health & Medical Care — by Arnold Bogis on May 27, 2015

Last week was actually EMS Week, but I thought it is never too late to recognize the job that EMTs and Paramedics do during disasters, such as the flooding in Texas and Oklahoma, and everyday when they treat and transport a family member who’s fallen or had a heart attack.

The  National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) provides a little background on EMS Week:

In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS, its practitioners and the important work they do in responding to medical emergencies. Back then, EMS was a fledgling profession and EMS practitioners were only beginning to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net.

A lot has changed over the last four decades. EMS is now firmly established as a key component of the medical care continuum, and the important role of EMS practitioners in saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest and trauma; in getting people to the hospitals best equipped to treat heart attacks and strokes; and in showing caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments.

Whether it’s the team at Grady EMS in Atlanta who had the expertise to transport the nation’s first Ebola patient, the volunteer firefighters and flight medics called to search for and rescue survivors in the Everett, Wash. mudslide or the thousands of EMS responses that happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and don’t make the news, EMS is there for their communities at their greatest time of need.

Below I’ve posted a short video featuring Kevin Horahan, a paramedic as well as a Senior Policy Analyst within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  He quickly spans EMS from the everyday response to their role in the healthcare system and role they play in helping to foster resilience.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

May 27, 2015 @ 11:44 am

Thanks for the post and video! Post 9/11/01 efforts were made to upgrade EMS and health preparedness. That effort now failing with respect to funding and staffing. Washington D.C. still has no requirement for a trained EMS/EMT on ambulances operating in the District. Perhaps UBER could take over the ambulance world like it is doing to the taxi world.

Comment by Tom Russo

May 27, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

These guys (and gals) are great responders that I admire for their mission focus. In my public health EM role, we worked constantly to integrate and support EMS with the solo-focused hospital systems in attempt to establish a region-wide medical network. EMTs understand this too well and appreciated the role and contribution of public health to improve this capability. Private sector hospitals looked to those preparedness funding to buy toys while EMS services looked to improve those region-wide capabilities…and their leadership did not retreat from those objectives.

In today’s ER roles and threat environments, their contributions have come to both full fruition and appreciation.

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