Celebrate the EMS Community During EMS Week 2016

Learn how organizations across the country find creative ways to recognize and inspire the men and women of the nation’s emergency medical services

On November 5, 1974, President Gerald Ford declared the first "Emergency Medical Services Week." In his Presidential Proclamation that initial year, President Ford wrote:

Let us affirm that the first year of this national legislation is only the beginning of our effort to improve this part of our total health care system so that no individual in this country will lack help when he needs it.

In the 42 years since then, there have been vast improvements in prehospital medicine but one thing remains constant — the commitment and dedication of the women and men of EMS who care for fellow Americans in their greatest hours of need. That’s why this year and every year, the nation marks the third week of May to celebrate EMS practitioners who risk their own lives and health to protect others.

Across the nation, EMS personnel and the public will observe EMS Week, which is May 15-21, in countless ways, such as:

  • The Napa County, California, EMS Society hosts an annual dinner with survivors of near-fatal cardiac events and the first responders who saved their lives.
  • Many commemorate EMS practitioners who have died in the line of duty by participating in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride. The long distance cycling event has five legs: along the East Coast, in the South, in the Midwest, in Colorado and on the West Coast.
  • In New York City, the Fire Department of New York partners with the Empire State Building to light the top of the skyscraper in yellow, white and blue with a siren halo.

For ideas and tools to help you celebrate and promote EMS Week, check out the planning guidesarticles, and other resources, courtesy of the EMS Strong campaign, which seeks to celebrate, unify and inspire the men and women of our nation’s emergency medical services. Created by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), EMS Strong brings together associations, EMS services, sponsors and national media to honor the dedication of EMS practitioners nationwide. This year’s theme is "Called to Care."

Whether during an individual’s time of need or a large-scale disaster, EMS practitioners demonstrate a profound commitment to their communities and continue to serve us daily. Thank the people of EMS who have dedicated their lives to saving lives by honoring them during EMS Week.

April is National 911 Education Month

Before EMS Week, don’t forget to celebrate April as National 911 Education Month. As home of the National 911 Program, the NHTSA Office of EMS works closely with the 911 community to support the efforts of emergency telecommunicators across the country. Public safety answering points and the dedicated people who staff them are the first first responders, and a critical piece of the emergency response system. More resources to help support outreach activities during National 911 Education Month are available at Know911.org, the official website of the National 911 Education Coalition.