The last few decades have marked a lot of changes in medicine and emergency services, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how inspiring EMS workers are. Every year, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) show their support for those who work on the front lines of medicine by jointly presenting National Emergency Medical Services Week. This year is the 44th annual National EMS Week, and the celebration is taking place May 20 to 26.
Today, more than 25,000 EMS Week Planning Guides are distributed to EMS services, fire departments, rescue squads, volunteer groups and emergency departments in communities around the country. The goal is to bring communities and EMS personnel together to publicize safety and honor the dedication, commitment and contributions of EMS workers. Here’s a very brief history of what we as a nation have done to recognize our emergency medical services personnel, and some things you can do to recognize these brave men and women.
The History of EMS Week
President Gerald Ford declared the first National Emergency Medical Services Week in November 1974, with the goal of improving health care in the nation as well as recognizing the important work EMS practitioners do in communities throughout the nation. The week was observed for four more years, then was reinstituted by ACEP in 1982 and moved to September. However, because Fire Prevention Week is in October, fire and EMS services felt they had to move EMS week to help the effectiveness of both programs. EMS week was moved to the third week in May in 1992, and the celebration has been around this time ever since.
Emergency medical service work often is messy and dangerous. The people who work in these jobs can be exposed to job-site risks unique to them, such as bloodborne pathogens, that require special coveralls and kits to avoid exposing themselves and others to bodily fluids. They also might need to venture into places where a gas detector needs to be used, or where splash safety googles or impact-resistant goggles might need to be worn.
The theme of EMS Week 2018 is “Stronger Together,” but there are individual themes for each day of EMS Week as well. These are this year’s theme days:
• Monday is Education Day. This is a day to focus on impacting communities by teaching and learning different ways to prevent injury or illness, and continuing the education of EMS providers. Have training or refresher courses on workplace health and safety, and make sure your workers know how to use an eyewash station. Those who work in medicine might want to consider a specialized Haws 7260B-7270B Eyewash designed to keep contaminants out of the nasal cavity once they’re flushed from the eyes.
• Tuesday is Safety Day. First responders need to focus on risk prevention and safety measures for themselves as well as their communities. This could mean celebrating recovery time and making sure EMS personnel and others take breaks when they need to. Using a complete powered air purifying respirator system and filters, like you’ll get with the 3M Versaflo Headcover PAPR Kit, can help ensure you’re breathing cleaner air. The Moldex 9000 Full Face Respirator Combination also can give you protection from a variety of chemicals.
• Wednesday is EMS for Children Day. Children are different from adults, and that can mean different things in an emergency situation. This day focuses on what makes children different, and focuses on their specialized care. Celebrate by talking about safety with the kids and parents you know. Stocking up on disposable nitrile gloves for cleaning up the messes kids get into might not be a bad idea, either.
• Thursday is Save-A-Life Day. EMS responders can’t get to a scene instantly, so there are cases when it’s up to bystanders to help. This is a day for the public to learn how to safely perform first aid. Ensure first-aid kits are well stocked, and workers know how to use them. PK Safety offers a few variations on Hart First Aid kits, including the Industrial First Aid Kit 2-Shelf Station, the Medium 3-Shelf First Aid Kit, and the Auto/Truck First Aid Kit 0066, so you’re never without first-aid supplies.
• Friday is EMS Recognition Day. EMS professionals do important and often stressful work, so set aside some time to celebrate by thanking an EMS professional for serving your community.
Appreciating Your EMS Professionals
EMS workers deserve all the appreciation you can give them -- and then some. Some places might host meals or give gifts such as the Coretex Professional Outdoor Skin Protection Kit to express their thanks, while others might host quiet memorials to fallen EMS workers. Bringing in speakers to talk about safety, or having CPR and first-aid training are ways to keep safety at the front of workers’ minds. If you work with EMS personnel, show your appreciation for them by keeping their EMS equipment in working order, such as making sure their respirators or goggles fit according to OSHA standards, with saccharin fit test solutions, or making sure disposable hazmat coverall suits are available for the next job that involves skin irritants.
EMS workers have stressful and dangerous jobs, and don’t always get thanked for it, so share some love with an EMS practitioner in your life or community.
For more information about National EMS Week and ways you can support your community’s EMS workers, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PK Safety Supports EMS Workers
We’re proud to provide workers in all industries with the equipment they need for on-the-job safety, and we recognize the courage and dedication required in the field of emergency medicine. That’s why we wanted to have an EMS week celebration of our own. In honor of Emergency Medical Services Week, we’re offering a discount code so the supplies many EMS workers use are more affordable. Use the code EMSWEEK2018 when you check out for $20 off and free shipping for orders of $199 or more, and with it, accept our thanks for everything you do.
PK Safety has years of experience in the safety business, and we want to help make sure EMS professionals and other workers stay safe and healthy on the job. If you’re looking for service for gas monitors, dependable safety products, customer support, or just have workplace health and safety questions, we’re available for you; reach out online or give us a call at 800.829.9580 for expert advice.