If you or your loved one experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury, or an emergency complication as a result of SCI, then it’s likely that an emergency medical professional has come to your aid.
Every year, EMS workers, their patients and other medical professors take time to bring awareness to the accomplishments and challenges of being a first responder. This year, EMS Week is May 15-21. It’s hard to imagine it now, but back in 1974 when EMS Week began, the profession was new. Now, they’re an integral part of our medical system.
So, What is EMS?
You probably know that EMS stands for emergency medical services. But that’s a broad umbrella term for all kinds of first responders. Under that umbrella, there are several kinds of roles:
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) — EMRs provide the most basic level of care. They can perform basic first aid or use a defibrillator, but they can’t administer medication. Most police officers, fire fighters, etc. are considered EMRs in this regard.
- Emergency Medical Technician — EMTs can do everything EMRs do, as well as transport patients. They can also administer more medications, depending on their level of training.
- Paramedic — Paramedics get the highest level of training among first responders. They can perform more medical interventions, like IVs and tracheotomies.
When you interact with EMS, you’re interacting with a network of professionals, from the dispatcher to the ambulance driver, who work together to assess and stabilize patients before they reach the hospital.
Ways to Support EMS Professionals
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) has been around for over 40 years. The organization is made up of paramedics, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders and others working in prehospital emergency medicine.
Its foundation helps support EMS education and research by funding scholarships and research. It also promotes EMS education and career development.
The National EMS Memorial Foundation believes that EMS workers who die in the line of duty deserve to be remembered the same way police officers and fire fighters are. They want to establish a memorial in or around Washington, DC that commemorates EMS workers who gave their lives while trying to save others.
EMS practitioners deal with trauma on a daily basis, and they aren’t immune to being affected by it mentally. Their work is stressful, and many deal with burnout, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Code Green Campaign aims to create awareness around the mental health needs of first responders.
You can support them by buying Code Green merchandise on their website, or by making a donation. The money they raise goes towards maintaining the organization’s ability to offer education resources and expand its reach.
Do you have a story about being helped by an EMS worker? Share it in the comments, and you may be featured on the blog!
AHM Exposed is the blog for At Home Medical, which specializes in selling continence care and other medical supplies for those with disabilities.