National EMS Week 2009 officially started on Sunday, May 17, but many agencies and providers have been working for months to ensure the week is filled with activities that recognize providers for the work they do.
In New York City, the official kickoff was this past week, with posters being hung in 300 to 350 telephone kiosks around the city. The posters share this year's slogan, "Moving at the Speed of Life," with New Yorkers and visitors. On Thursday, several EMS providers got to ring the closing bell for the NASDAQ, says John Peruggia, chief of EMS command for the Fire Department New York (FDNY).
"We get very involved with EMS Week," Peruggia says. "We have a lot of stuff going on. It's exciting."
In addition to closing the NASDAQ and the posters, the FDNY has its Second Chance Survivor Brunch on Tuesday. This year, 16 surviving pediatric, adult and geriatric cardiac arrest patients will meet their rescuers. Many of them were identified as having STEMIs by their rescuers. They were brought to STEMI centers in their post-cardiac arrest state, and they recovered.
Another agency that will be connecting cardiac arrest survivors with their rescuers is„Wake County (N.C.) EMS. The fourth annual Cardiac Arrest Save Ceremony is Monday night. "This year, we will honor over 250 telecommunicators, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who participated in the successful (walk out of the hospital neurologically intact) resuscitation of 59 citizens who experienced cardiac arrest during 2008," says Skip Kirwood in aJEMS Connect discussion thread about EMS Week activities.
On Tuesday night, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has its EMS Executive's Recognition Dinner. The dinner connects survivors with EMTs and paramedics who saved them.
The next big event the FDNY has this week is the EMT and paramedic team competition on Thursday. During the contest, nine teams will compete through scenarios. The best ALS and best BLS teams in the city will receive trophys, which will be handed out by Randolf Mantooth. Those trophys are displayed in the winning teams' stations for one year. In addition to the trophies, the winning teams receive medals and money for their station, which has been used in the past for a television or barbeque, fitness equipment or a station party.
"It's just an exciting day," Peruggia says, adding that each station has an open house. Each employee receives a gift -- this year that gift is a set of paramedic shears -- that is donated by the FDNY Fire Foundation.
Outside the city, the Regional EMS Council recognizes EMS agencies with a brunch and the New York State EMS ceremony is on Thursday.
In„San Francisco, the San Francisco Emergency Medical Services Association will be honoring the very best in its system by recognizing the winners in the following award categories:
Earlier this month, the American Ambulance Association had its Stars of Life Celebration and Medal Presentation Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
All week long, the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride makes its way from New York and Paintsville, Ky. to Roanoke, Va., which is where the National EMS Memorial Service will be held on May 23. Click here to read an„exclusive blog of the ride by four-time rider Doug Martin.