EMS Week Salutes over 58,000 Responders who Provide Emergency Medical Care

Governor Paterson Designates May 17- 23 'Emergency Medical Services Week'

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 20, 2009) - Governor David A. Paterson has proclaimed May 17-23 as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week in New York State in honor of the more than 58,000 certified emergency medical services providers and thousands of EMS support staff and emergency medical dispatchers serving communities across the state.

With the theme, "A Proud Partner in your Community," the week is part of a national celebration recognizing and honoring the high-level, pre-hospital emergency medical care provided by EMS professionals.

"This week, and all year long, we owe a debt of gratitude to the thousands of EMS professionals across New York State," said Governor David A. Paterson. "These individuals are true public servants who commit their lives to aiding our State's residents in times of crisis and emergency. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to thank New York's EMS professionals for their dedication and hard work in a noble profession."

A highlight of the week was the annual EMS Memorial Ceremony held at 11 a.m. today at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. Sponsored by the New York State Health Department, the event honors EMS professionals and pays special tribute to those who died in the line of duty.

"As a physician who has worked in intensive care, I have witnessed the extraordinary work of EMS professionals in providing critical, often lifesaving services," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "The delivery of quality care at the scene of an accident or other trauma and during transport to the hospital can dramatically increase the chance of survival and full recovery."

The names of two EMS professionals who died shortly after responding to EMS calls were added to the New York State EMS Memorial during this year's memorial ceremony in Albany. Edward P. Mueller, a 51-year-old Emergency Medical Technician who served with the West Islip Fire Department in Suffolk County, died of cardiac arrest after responding to an EMS call in 2008. Norman Haines, 80, of the Laurens Emergency Squad in Otsego County, died from cardiac arrest while responding to an EMS call in 2007.

EMS workers include emergency physicians and nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, educators, administrators, and other trained individuals who work in 911 dispatch centers, fire and law enforcement agencies, and ambulance services, as well as physicians and nurses who work in hospital emergency departments and trauma centers. Volunteer and non-volunteer sectors frequently work as a team to respond to emergencies. Emergency medical providers undergo hundreds of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their skills and maintain optimum standards of medical treatment and urgent care.

More than 2.7 million EMS emergency and non-emergency ambulance transports occur each year in New York State. Additionally, 1,100 ambulance services operate more than 4,500 ambulances, with another 800 non-transporting first-response EMS services that assist in the emergency responses.

Eighteen Regional EMS Councils in New York State promote regional cooperation and organization of local EMS systems. Each Council is holding EMS Week celebrations, dedications, special education and awareness programs in their communities. More information on emergency medical services is available at http://www.nyhealth.gov/nysdoh/ems/main.htm .