May 20 – 26 marks the nationwide observance of EMS Week.
As described on the American College of Emergency Physicians website, during this week, communities around the country took the opportunity to recognize the individuals who, “provide the lifesaving services of medicine’s ‘front line.’”
“We recognize the invaluable lifesaving work that is carried out through our communities by those who have been ‘called’ to serve,” Renee Bates, Second Alarmers Rescue Squad’s executive director, told Patch in a correspondence
Speaking on this year’s EMS Week theme, “More than a Job, A Calling,” Bates described those in the Emergency Medical Services as highly dedicated individuals.
“We do this job, because we love it,” Bates said. “We love the rush of adrenaline we get when someone calls for our help, the feeling inside that just can’t be explained, that says, ‘I’m going to make a difference.’”
According to a , Second Alarmers is one of the largest EMS providers in Montgomery County, Crews respond to more than 12,000 emergency calls a year in Hatboro, Jenkintown, Rockledge, as well as Abington, Upper Dublin, Upper Moreland and Whitpain townships.
"Kiss an EMT"
Throughout EMS Week, the national observance is celebrated and publicized in different ways.
In Montgomery County, Second Alarmers recently hosted whose east coast bicycle ride through Whitpain honored EMS workers who died in the line of duty.
Further EMS Week publicity was given in the form of a dual Second Alarmers’ banners hung on the Edge Hill Road Bridge in Abington. Travelers heading northbound along York Road saw a banner that reads, “Kiss an EMT.” While, travelers heading southbound read a banner that states, “The life they save may be yours.”
Bates said she hopes that EMS Week’s added attention helps spur community interest for their local EMS providers all year round.
“EMS Week to us is just one more week out of 51 others,” Bates said. “Each and every day we hope to educate those around us to what exactly EMS is and what we do.”
According to Bates, throughout the year, Second Alarmers initiates several community outreach events, such as providing , attending mock rescue drills for prom week at area high schools and attending career days.
She said she hopes such community outreach can help dispel common misconceptions about most area EMS providers.
According to Bates, most area EMS providers are not a part of a fire department, including Second Alarmers. As such, Second Alarmers does not receive municipal funding, instead relying in large part on billing for services and donations from the community.
Bates adds that funding for Second Alarmers services have recently been in decline, despite the demand for increased levels of care to patients.
According to the Patch article, Second Alarmers has 123 employees and 100 volunteers at its five stations throughout the county. However, Bates, who joined Second Alarmers as a volunteer in 1992, said that the organization is always looking for more volunteers both on the ambulance and off.
PA's 'Steer Clear' Law
As EMS Week 2012 comes to a close, Bates also hopes that the added publicity will also bring attention to Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear Law.”
“One big thing that everyone can do that costs no money and that only takes a few seconds of your time, is pull to the right and stop if you see an ambulance approaching with its lights and sirens,” Bates said. “Remember, we are responding to help someone who is loved.”
For more information, visit www.sars.org.