ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – Each week WETM recognizes our first responders that provide emergency services for our community. This week we are recognizing a group of first responders who are frequently overlooked for their vital role in community service. 

EMS providers include a wide range of individuals. They are state and nationally certified Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Paramedics, Flight Paramedics, and Nurses. Whether they are career caregivers or volunteers, they are all professionals who have to go through the same training to save a life. And to rise to the challenge

In 1974 President Gerald Ford authorized Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our communities. EMS week is a time to thank paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and the entire EMS workforce for their service and sacrifices.

When we encounter a serious or sudden illness or injury we frequently say “call 911” or “call an ambulance.” While the ambulance and the equipment on the ambulance is important, what we really mean to say is “call EMS,” because EMS is much more than the vehicle. EMS is a system that includes one very important component: people.

As with any first responder, the men and women who serve in this line of work see people at the worst times in their lives. They deal with illness, injury, and death on a frequent basis. They relive scenes in their heads that many people could not fathom; so do not ask them what is the worst thing they have seen, because many have seen things that they would like to forget. They also get to enjoy the best of times with people such as a birth of a child, or when a person is rescued from a near-death experience.

Within EMS there is a comradery that is like that found in law enforcement, the fire service, and the military. Also, there is a different sense of humor that many outside of emergency services would not understand. We would like to thank those who work all hours of the day and night. We thank those who miss meals or eat several hours late because they are helping someone during a medical emergency. We thank those who practice high levels of medical care in dangerous and difficult situations and who often risk their own health and safety to do so.

Over the past several years, Emergency Medical Services has faced the usual risks of providing emergency medical care in the field, with the added physical, emotional, and mental strain of a global pandemic. While many of us were able to “stay home to stop the spread” these responders had to continue to respond to every call for help with the additional risk of being exposed to COVID. Thank you all for your steadfast service. They are also often looked at as less than other emergency responders, thus getting less pay, and less support, but your life could very well hang in their hands.

You can nominate a first responder for recognition

The above picture represents some of the EMS agencies in the Twin Tiers.

You can nominate a first responder for recognition by clicking on the picture above.

If you would like to join the EMS community, you can check with your local provider or fire department. In the Southern Tier, EMSTAR offers EMS training.