IAFF Honors EMS Personnel Amid Historic Challenges

Charlie Phipps and David Rebula, paramedics with Southside EMS, prep the ambulance after transporting a patient to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia May 3, 2017. 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade paramedics assist Southside EMS in Savannah, Georgia, to sustain skills while in a garrison environment through a civilian-military partnership that started in March 2017.
Charlie Phipps and David Rebula, paramedics with Southside EMS, prep the ambulance after transporting a patient to Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia May 3, 2017. 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade paramedics assist Southside EMS in Savannah, Georgia, to sustain skills while in a garrison environment through a civilian-military partnership that started in March 2017. (US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kellen Stuart, 3rd CAB Public Affairs)

From May 16 to 21, as part of EMS Week, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) will recognize the important role emergency medical service (EMS) providers play in keeping their communities safe, particularly during these challenging times.

Trained to respond to any emergency, emergency responders have faced the added challenges of working on the frontlines in the middle of an historic pandemic, civil unrest, on-the-job attacks and widespread opioid abuse.

This additional stress can take a heavy toll on EMS workers both physically and mentally, and the IAFF is committed honoring their work and keeping them safe.

“Our EMS members are the first line of defense during this pandemic, putting their lives on the line to provide expert care,” says IAFF General President Edward Kelly. “We owe them not just our gratitude but our commitment to do all that we can to keep them safe and healthy on the job.”

Throughout the week, the IAFF will remember the members who lost their lives to COVID-19, as well as highlight the role EMS providers have played protecting communities during numerous events of civil unrest and address the impact of the pandemic and other events on the behavioral health of EMS personnel.

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