This Is EMS: Caring for Our Communities
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
May 16-22, 2021, is the 46th annual National EMS Week. In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities. This year’s theme is This Is EMS: Caring for Our Communities.
NAEMT partners with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to lead annual EMS Week activities. 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.
- Monday – EMS Education Day
- Tuesday – Safety Tuesday
- Wednesday – EMS for Children Day
- Thursday – Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed)
- Friday – EMS Recognition Day
12 Ways to Celebrate EMS Week
EMS Week is a time to thank paramedics, EMTs and the entire EMS workforce for their service and sacrifices. It’s also an opportunity for EMS to continue to raise public awareness about the critical role of EMS in the community. Here are some ideas for how to celebrate.
- Buy a billboard to thank practitioners for going above and beyond the call.
- Have a T-shirt design contest. Ask for submissions of EMS-themed designs, then have employees vote to select their favorite. Print the winning design on T-shirts, which you can give out as EMS Week gifts.
- Hire a food truck, which often offer local specialties that can be served outside and socially distanced. You might need to host your event on two separate days to make sure everyone has a chance to attend.
- Host a family fun event. Parents will appreciate a fun day for their children that they don’t have to plan. Many children’s entertainers have adapted to social distancing and mask rules and will put on a show or lead an activity that follows guidelines.
- Give out grab-and-go boxed lunches or healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts and berries.
- Host a blood drive and invite the public. This has been an especially tough year for the American Red Cross, which has experienced nationwide blood donation shortages. If possible, offer those who donate a small gift card donated by a local fast food restaurant or an EMS Week T-shirt as incentives.
- Host a servant leadership day, in which agency leaders serve personnel. One idea: managers wash employees’ cars.
- Host a “virtual tour” of an ambulance and the life-saving equipment inside, and post it on social media. Since you can’t invite school groups and other members of the public in, bring the ambulance to them, virtually.
- Create an EMT or Paramedic of the Year Award. Ask for nominations from employees. Announce the winner or winners during EMS Week and notify local media.
- Honor fallen EMS personnel. EMS Week can be a time to remember colleagues who have died in the line of duty. Meaningful ways to honor their sacrifice can include planting a memorial garden for quiet reflection, or making a donation in their name to a cause they cherished. You can also participate in the National EMS Memorial Service, an annual event to memorialize those who have become sick or injured or have died in the line of duty. Another way to honor fallen EMS practitioners is by participating in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride.
- Teach First On The Scene (FOTS). First On the Scene is a 4-hour course designed by NAEMT and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) that prepares the public to respond to medical crises that may occur in everyday circumstances or during mass casualty events such as shootings or motor vehicle collisions. Topics include: bleeding control, treating anaphylaxis with epinephrine auto-injectors, using naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses, among others.
- Recognize a CPR save or another life-saving rescue. Few moments are more meaningful for EMS practitioners than meeting someone whose life they helped to save. Bring together the crew, the person who was saved and their family. If they’re willing, share the story with the media.