May 19-25, 2019, is Emergency Medical Services week. This was originally authorized in November 1974 by President Gerald Ford.

This week serves as a time to recognize and celebrate the work these professionals do day in and day out. These every-day heroes take to the streets, working on the ambulances and for the fire departments. They are there in your or your family’s time of need.

Each year, EMS week has a different theme. This year’s theme is “Beyond The Call.” Each agency celebrates EMS week a little differently from cake to gifts. As the public, if you see one of these amazing people on a call or grabbing a quick bite, a simple hello and thank you goes a long way.

The providers of Valencia County, to include the municipalities and ambulance companies respond to more than 1,000 calls a month. These calls can range from car accidents to missing limbs, death of the elderly or sudden death of a child and everywhere in between.

These calls play on the providers physical well being and their mental health as well. It is incredibly important that our providers know they are supported by their agency and community.

This year, each week day, also has its own theme that represents the diverse nature of EMS. Monday is EMS Education Day. Each provider attends between one semester up to four years depending on the program and level of licensure. These courses are taught by a skilled group of EMS professionals who are dual hatted in education.

Tuesday is Safety Day. This profession is certainly not safe all the time from violent criminals to car accidents. Safety of our providers is paramount. A strong thank you to the police, mechanics and logistics professionals who keep our crews safe.

Wednesday is EMS for Children Day. They account for a small amount of the calls but could be the hardest both with their uniqueness and in the mental struggle of having a sick child. We appreciate the dedicated providers that specialize in pediatric care.

Thursday is Stop the Bleed Day. This is a program open to everybody that looks at teaching basic life-saving bleeding control techniques to help mitigate casualties from mass violence situations.

Finally, Friday is EMS Recognition Day.

This year it is been decided that the agencies will come together as a family on Saturday, May 25, for a barbecue and softball match. The public is more than welcome to attend and cheer on the teams. Teams are welcome from any public safety entity. There should be 9-18 players and registration should be completed by May 22.

There is an incredible group of providers that respond at all times when you or your family is in need they are there in the worst of days. They are such a valued treasure that the president made an entire week just to celebrate EMS. As a community, we can come together to celebrate it and be EMS Strong.

(Justin Reser is an EMT of 11 years; he has worked for ambulance companies, fire-based EMS, as an ER tech in the hospital and as an EMS instructor.)

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