MADISONVILLE, Ky. (5/23/14) — National EMS Week, a countrywide event aimed at celebrating and raising awareness of the work done by Emergency Medical Service personnel, began Sunday, May 18.
EMS Week has been observed nationally since President Gerald Ford first recognized it in 1974.
“A lot of people don't really realize how much emergency medical service personnel are needed until they need them themselves,” said Tim Martin, EMT and program coordinator for Madisonville Community College's paramedic program. “I know I have saved lives,” Martin said. “I have saved moms, dads, and children from drowning, from heart attacks, and I know my colleagues have as well.”
According to Martin, EMS personnel include ambulance services, fire departments, rescue squads, first responders and police departments.
“A lot of people don't realize that sometimes the cop is on the scene first, and they do a lot for the patient, whatever they can to help,” Martin said.
EMS Week is about showing those people appreciation.
“A lot of them dedicate their time and spend their own money,” Martin said. He added that volunteer fire departments and others make an impact in the community without being paid.
“They just show up out of the kindness of their hearts,” Martin said.
Training new EMS personnel is the purpose of MCC's program, which saw its first class of graduates December 2013. “Out of our first class, we have three active paramedics that are on the street,” Martin said.
Martin said the second class has begun their training, and will graduate in May 2015.
“We have a two-year program here that's just as long as the nursing program,” Martin said. “We have three semesters of all bookwork and clinicals.”
In the last semester, students do around 480 hours of internship on an ambulance with a certified paramedic, according to Martin.
Martin believes EMS workers deserve gratitude.
“If you see an EMS worker or volunteer firefighter, just give them a pat on the back and say 'Thank you,'” Martin said. “That's usually more than they ever ask for.”EMS Week will conclude Saturday, May 24.
SurfKY News Reporter
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