(RICHMOND, Va.) – 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. Through the height of this public health crisis, our first responders have continued to deliver lifesaving emergency care to the communities they serve. Last year, EMS providers responded to more than 1.56 million calls for help in Virginia, which represents approximately 4,280 incidents per day.
As proclaimed by Governor Ralph Northam, May 16-22 is EMS Week in Virginia. This special week honors EMS responders’ commitment to providing the best prehospital emergency medical care to all people in Virginia. EMS for Children Day, May 19, emphasizes the pediatric patient and their required specialized treatment.
“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, 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.”
Due to the pandemic, regularly scheduled EMS Week community activities hosted by local EMS agencies may be rescheduled or postponed. However, there are still ways to support an EMS agency in your community. Please check their websites or social media pages for additional information.
To learn more about the Virginia Department of Health Office of EMS, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/emergency-medicalservices/.