Honoring EMS Workers this Week

EMS practitioners serve our nation in its darkest hours and at a moment's notice.

Honoring EMS Workers this WeekA statement from Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response

This week, our nation honors emergency medical service (EMS) professionals for their dedication to public service.

Over the past century, the field of emergency medical services has grown from hospital interns who rode in horse-drawn carriages transporting the sick and injured in a few cities during the 1800s. Today our nation draws on diverse network of nearly a million EMS physicians, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, dispatchers, and support staff in every community. With each passing year, EMS has demonstrated increasing importance in our nation’s health care system.

EMS practitioners serve our nation in its darkest hours and at a moment’s notice. In recent months, they provided care after a deadly mudslide in Washington state, in the aftermath of a tornado in Arkansas, and when a gunman opened fire in a Navy facility in Washington, D.C. EMS practitioners work just as diligently to protect health and save lives in every American town and city every day in emergencies large or small.

At HHS, we recognize the connection between the care patients receive through the primary care providers, the acute care provided by emergency medical services practitioners and the care provided in emergency departments. We know that a seamless health care system is required, day in and day out, for our nation’s health security.

To that end, we are working on a wide variety of projects. Among them: We are partnering with EMS practitioners to link EMS records with other electronic health record systems and health information exchanges.

We also are working through the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS to improve coordination among federal agencies that affect emergency medicine. We’re exploring ways to improve the effectiveness and reliability of Enhanced 911 services, and working with EMS practitioners to implement a strategy that ensures a culture of safety within the EMS community.

We also are providing guidance, training, and materials to assist EMS providers who face active shooter situations.

Please join me in taking a few moments during EMS week to thank an emergency medical services practitioner.

EMS: Dedicated. For life.

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Presidential_SealA PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Wherever and whenever crisis hits, the men and women of our emergency medical services (EMS) rush to the scene. With unyielding steadiness, they bring care to those who need it most. During Emergency Medical Services Week, we show our gratitude to the EMS practitioners who aid our families, friends, and neighbors in their darkest moments.

We saw their professionalism in action after a devastating storm hit Vilonia, Arkansas. Immediately after a tornado struck, 200 people, including EMS personnel from other counties, were ready to go house to house searching for injured neighbors. We saw it after last month’s mudslide in Washington State when first responders and rescue crews braved unsteady ground to search for survivors. And we see it in towns and cities across America every hour of every day. My Administration is dedicated to supporting the vital work of our paramedics, emergency medical technicians, 911 dispatchers, and EMS medical directors.

This week, we thank the EMS providers who ease suffering and so often mean the difference between life and death. Let us honor their service with a renewed commitment to them. Let us ensure that those who watch over our communities have the support they need to get the job done.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 18 through May 24, 2014, as Emergency Medical Services Week. I encourage all Americans to observe this occasion by showing their support for their local EMS providers and taking steps to improve their personal safety and preparedness.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

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