By March 9, 2020 Stories No Comments
Are you EMS Strong? Tell your friends.

Planning your EMS WEEK Celebrations

MAY 17-23, 2020

EMS EDUCATION Every year, in celebration of EMS Week, UnityPoint Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, hosts “EMS Night Out.” This event not only shows appreciation for EMS personnel (many of whom are volunteers), but also provides an opportunity to update them on new medical techniques and practices.

In celebration of EMS Week, Steward Health Care in Massachusetts hosts an annual “EMS Stewards of the Community” awards ceremony. Last year, Steward recognized 19 professionals of Trinity EMS in Lowell, Mass.

How can you recognize and honor EMS in your own community?
Here are some ideas.


A proclamation is a formal public statement that can be an effective way to gain attention for EMS Week and acknowledge the contributions of EMS clinicians. Encourage local, regional and state government officials to issue a proclamation for EMS Week. It reminds public officials and the entire community about the vital role of EMS. Some steps to getting officials to issue a proclamation include: Planning ahead, identifying the right person in government (having an inside contact is helpful), finding out if your government contact has a standard proclamation that you can use (or if you need to draft one yourself) and arranging a formal signing ceremony. When officials sign and promote a proclamation, the local news media has a photo or video opportunity upon which to build an EMS Week story.



Make sure to tell local newspaper, television, internet and radio outlets about EMS Week. In addition to a proclamation, a press release is an effective way to draw attention to EMS Week happenings. Even better, take advantage of pre-existing relationships with reporters or other contacts to personally talk to them about EMS Week and invite them to do a ride-along, attend a training session or cover an event.



The following EMS Week-related events are all worthy of media coverage:

  • Proclamation signings
  • Ceremonies involving public officials
  • Ride-alongs
  • Community education events
  • Survivor celebrations
  • Recreational activities
  • Hospital-sponsored events

Make a plan with hospitals, fi re departments, EMS agencies and associations. Make sure to start early to coordinate special events where EMS team members have an opportunity to bond with co-workers, hospital staff or other stakeholders. Put a schedule together that includes a mix of fun, education, recognition and community outreach. Make sure your EMTs and paramedics are not saddled with too much extra work surrounding these events—especially without recognition or compensation.




One of the most important goals of EMS Week is educating communities about prehospital medicine and the services provided by EMS. EMS Week is an ideal time to explain how EMS services operate in your community, as many people don’t understand the various roles of different organizations, or might assume EMS in their town works just like EMS on their favorite TV show. Take the time to educate the public about how their system works—its governance, funding, EMS professionals and services. Focus on the people as well, explaining how every individual—from bystanders and initial responders to paramedics and clinicians in the hospital—play a key role in achieving optimal outcomes.

EMS Week is also about making community connections through valuable outreach programs such as stroke and chest pain awareness, CPR training, injury prevention or bicycle and water safety. You can take advantage of the many programs that are fully established and ready to implement. It’s also a time to educate citizens about the use of emergency medical dispatch at 911 centers; the ongoing efforts to train, recruit and retain EMTs and paramedics, and the various tools and technologies used to treat patients.


Remember that honoring EMS personnel means more than just serving up

a tray of donuts! EMS Week is about leaders taking extra steps to recognize employees, volunteers and partners. It’s also your chance to celebrate with thousands of your peers in communities across the country. And it’s your time to promote camaraderie and provide staff recognition—which leads to improved productivity and morale. During EMS Week, organizations across the country celebrate and honor EMS personnel with pancake breakfasts, BBQs, parties, gifts and award ceremonies. These events give team members an opportunity to relax and bond with co-workers, hospital staff and executives. Using EMS Week as a time to reunite clinicians with patients who survived cardiac arrest, major trauma or other serious events is another way to remind members of the community and your organization why we do what we do.

Celebrations can also mean special meals and events, educational opportunities, gifts and giveaways. Perks can include rewarding professionals with a trip to a state or national association meeting.

No matter how your organization chooses to commemorate the week, what’s important is seizing the opportunity to celebrate. Remember that each day of EMS Week has a theme, which can help in-spire ideas. Planning a special event for each day helps to structure the week, get everyone involved and en-sure you are celebrating all aspects of the profession.

The Alexandria Fire Department in Virginia organizes many com-munity education events during EMS Week every year. In 2019, the department provided free, hands-only CPR training and stroke awareness information at public locations throughout the city. Other outreach initiatives, such as a blood drive at a local hospital, give the department an opportunity to celebrate EMS, collaborate with partners and serve the community.