May 17 to 23 is National EMS Week, a time to recognize the members in your community who stand ready to respond to you, your family or visitors to our wonderful state in your time of need.

Normally, we would be planning open houses and community events as a way to introduce you to your local EMS organization and the providers who selflessly answer your call for help 280,000 times a year. Instead, we will be running “thank you” ads in the newspapers and encouraging all media to help us get the word out about the professionals who work tirelessly day in and day out, under extraordinary circumstances, to be there for you during your time of need.

But we also desperately need to get the word out that now, we need your help. Our numbers are dwindling, and our resources are getting scarce. We need you to reach out to your local public safety agency and ask how you can help. Consider becoming an EMT, a firefighter, a driver for a rural service, a dispatcher or a supporter.

When the call comes in, we get in our vehicles and respond to you. Yes, we have saved lives. But we have also held your hand when you were scared, made you more comfortable when you were in pain or hugged you when you cried.

If you are interested, there is a fantastic presentation from Dan Batsie, director of the Vermont EMS system, which you can view at on YouTube.

Rick Petrie

emergency medical technician and paramedic


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