In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do. Back then, EMS was a new profession, just starting to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine.
A lot has changed since then. EMS is now firmly established as an essential public function and a vital component of the medical care continuum. On any given day, EMS practitioners help save lives by responding to medical emergencies, including heart attack, difficulty breathing, a fall or accident, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose or acute illness. EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital. EMS practitioners care for their patients' medical needs and show caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments.
With the development of mobile integrated healthcare and community paramedicine (MIH-CP), EMS is also increasingly a valued participant in achieving the nation's overall healthcare goals of improved patient health and lowered costs.
This year, National Association of Emergency Management Technicians (NAEMT) continues its partnership with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) on the EMS Strong campaign. Together, NAEMT and ACEP are working to ensure that the important contributions of EMS practitioners in safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of their communities are fully celebrated and recognized.
EMS Week is also an opportunity to publicize those contributions. Given the challenges facing our nation's healthcare system and the rapid pace of change, making sure the public and other stakeholders understand what EMS has to offer has never been more important.