(WFXR) — Communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia are sharing their appreciation this week for EMS workers, whose 24/7 dedication to caring for their towns, cities, and counties has saved countless lives, especially over the last year.
“Over the last year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed an immeasurable strain on everyone, especially Virginia’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers,” the Virginia Department of Health said in a statement on Monday, May 17. “Through the height of this public health crisis, our first responders have continued to deliver lifesaving emergency care to the communities they serve.”
According to health officials, EMS providers responded to more than 1.56 million calls for help in Virginia last year, which is approximately 4,280 incidents each day.
Gov. Ralph Northam proclaimed Sunday, May 16 to Saturday, May 22 as EMS Week in Virginia.
This special week is meant to honor EMS responders’ commitment to providing the best prehospital emergency medical care to all people in Virginia, the VDH says.
In addition, Wednesday, May 19 marks EMS for Children Day, which focuses on pediatric patients and the specialized treatment they need.
“Virginia’s EMS providers are on the frontlines of our healthcare system, providing care to severely ill and injured people in all kinds of situations, in homes, on the side of the road, wherever the emergencies are located,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “Numerous lives are saved every year because these highly-trained men and women are able to get medical care to people quickly. We appreciate your hard work and salute your skill and dedication.”
“This pandemic has further highlighted the commitment and expertise of Virginia’s EMS providers. You are our heroes and we will be forever thankful for your ability to save lives during our greatest hour of need,” said Gary Brown, director of the Virginia Department of Health Office of EMS. “As we continue to make strides in the fight against COVID-19, we are reminded that our way through this pandemic is to get shots in arms. I have gotten my vaccination and want to express how important it is that all of our EMS providers get vaccinated too.”
“On May 7, the State EMS Advisory Board passed a motion that unanimously supported EMS providers getting COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Kevin Dillard, chair of the State EMS Advisory Board. “I want to emphasize this important message and share my support for all EMS providers working on the frontlines of Virginia’s emergency health care system to get vaccinated.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the EMS Week community activities usually hosted by local first responder agencies may be rescheduled or postponed.
However, for more information about ways to support an EMS agency in your community, check their websites or social media pages.