They’re right behind police officers and firefighters at every car crash or fire, but EMS medics rarely get the acknowledgement from the public that they deserve.
But during EMS Week, which ends Friday, the focus is on the role of the emergency medical service workers who save countless lives every day.
“We do appreciate everyone who acknowledges us and thanks us for the work we do,” said Dan Miller, the operations manager of SouthBridge EMS. “It doesn’t really happen that often where people write you thank you notes or acknowledge what you do.”
Miller thinks that’s because EMS is relatively new compared to police and fire departments. The background of EMS providers – most of which around here are non-profit or housed within volunteer fire departments – is not as well known as other emergency services.
“We do sometimes feel like we’re the last to be recognized or thought of,” Miller said. “We’re just a new organization in the emergency services, so we kind of get the bottom rung of everything.”
In response, organized a picnic Wednesday afternoon for the five EMS services that cover area communities. Medics from , Kirwan Heights EMS, , Medical Rescue Team South and Tri-Community South enjoyed the afternoon and each received a “Challenge Coin” to commemorate their service.
“That was one thing we did this week to show the recognition for the hard work they do throughout the year,” said Venard Campbell, St. Clair's pre-hospital coordinator who helped organized the event. “It was a great way to say thanks.”
Joe Wissel, the , said they appreciate the gesture by St. Clair and the other hospitals that held luncheons this week. He said the Challenge Coin was a pleasant surprise for the EMS workers.
“It’s kind of good for morale,” Wissel said.
He said this area is unique because of the number of EMS departments housed within fire houses. Wissel, who is also fire chief in Heidelberg, said that allows a closer working relationship on calls because many understand the different nuances to an emergency.
“We’re kind of unique here because we are the fire department,” Wissel said. “We know any type of emergency we need to respond to and we’re prepared.”