Alabama recognizes National EMS Week


CONTACT: Stephen Wilson
(334) 206-5383

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris invite Alabamians to recognize and celebrate National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, observed this year on May 21–25. May 2018 marks the 44th annual National EMS Week initially authorized by President Gerald Ford in 1974.

The annual national event pays tribute to America’s EMS practitioners and the important work they perform within the health care system. Alabama participates and recognizes EMS providers through a proclamation by the governor. The 2018 proclamation has been signed by Governor Kay Ivey and recognizes a special state theme, “Alabama EMS: A Culture of Excellence.”

“Older Alabamians can remember the days before our modern EMS system was established,” said Dr. Harris regarding the week’s observance. “In those days, nothing was standardized; few tools and little knowledge were available to ambulance crews. A patient arriving at a hospital may have been cared for by a surgeon, a general practitioner or a resident moonlighting in the emergency room.”

Dr. Harris explained, “Even in rural areas, today’s ambulances in Alabama are well-equipped, state-of-the art medical units, and are attended by providers who are qualified and experienced in emergency care.” Dr. Harris agreed that the EMS system in Alabama focuses upon teamwork and quality improvement. “The training continuously improves at all levels, from EMTs and paramedics in prehospital care, to nurses and physicians in the emergency departments and beyond.”

Stephen Wilson, an experienced paramedic and acting director of the ADPH Office of Emergency Medical Services, echoed Dr. Harris’ sentiments. “The Alabama emergency medical technician today is trained and equipped to efficiently and effectively perform emergency care better than the paramedics who were licensed in the 1970’s.”

Wilson explained, “Every level of provider is now better prepared for a wide variety of patient care needs. With continued education and board certification, a paramedic can now be designated as a critical care paramedic, which would allow him or her to provide the highest level of care to the citizens of Alabama.”

Wilson stated, “EMS practitioners demonstrate a profound commitment to their communities and continue to serve Alabama daily. During EMS Week, let us celebrate and support the EMS professionals in Alabama and let’s thank them for their efforts and sacrifice.”