National EMS Week is run by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and includes events in communities across the country, including an annual memorial service for responders who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, these ‘everyday heroes’ deserve special recognition for their willingness to face danger in order to help people in trouble,” said ACEP President Sandra Schneider, M.D., FACEP. “All emergency physicians salute the brave men and women who sometimes put themselves in harm’s way in order to assist the sick and the injured. Their selflessness sets an example for all of us.”

EMS providers include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, first responders, fire fighters and police – some paid, some volunteer. National EMS Week will feature hundreds of grassroots activities coast to coast, including safety demonstrations, EMS essay and poster contests, CPR classes and at least one auto extrication demonstration.

This is also a time to remember the fallen. The 19th annual National EMS Memorial Service will take place June 25 in Colorado Springs, Colo. This event honors those responders who died while in the line of duty. This year, 43 honorees from 18 states will be added to the 538 honored in years past.

When to Call EMS

In honor or EMS Week, ACEP offers tips for when to call EMS. Always call EMS if someone needs immediate medical treatment. To make this decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the person's condition life-threatening?
  • Could the person’s condition worsen and become life threatening on the way to the hospital?
  • Does the person require the skills or equipment of paramedics or emergency medical technicians?
  • Could the distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the person to the hospital?

If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” or if you are unsure, it's best to call EMS, ACEP stressed. Paramedics and EMTs can begin medical treatment at the scene and on the way to the hospital and alert the emergency department of the person'’s condition en route.

When you call for help, speak calmly and clearly. Give your name, address and phone number; provide the location of the patient and describe the problem. Finally, don’t hang up until the dispatcher tells you to, because he or she may need more information or give you instructions.

For more information, visit http://www.acep.org/emsweek.