National EMS Week, May 17-23, recognizes emergency medical services workers. The first EMS Week was designated by proclamation in November 1974 by then-President Gerald Ford. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians will lead EMS Week activities along the theme, “EMS Strong, Ready Today, Preparing for Tomorrow.”
Sean Gibson, Dothan Fire EMS battalion chief, believes becoming a firefighter and EMS service worker is one of the best decisions he ever made. After serving in the military for years, Gibson needed to keep the excitement alive in his career choice, and he knew firefighting was something he needed to look into.
“Once I was out of the military, deep down I knew firefighting was for me,” he said. “The adrenaline rush and the excitement I could feel were similar to being in the military. In my mind, it is a battle to fight. It’s just a battle not involving ammunition.”
Since 1992, Gibson has enjoyed a career as a firefighter and now serves as a member of the EMS team as well.
“After I became a firefighter, on my first call I couldn’t go in. But I stood and watched as the firefighters rush to put out the fire, and from that moment on, I knew I was doing what I needed to do.”
As time went on, Gibson knew he had more to give while serving his community. He also knew he was missing one thing while serving as a firefighter. He was missing interaction with those he was working to help. So to fill the gap, he worked to obtain his EMS certification.
“You know you can put out 300 house fires and you hardly ever talk to the homeowner,” he said. “While serving as an EMS member, you have contact with those you help. Even if it’s just for a few minutes you have contact, and that contact is important.”
EMS is a vital component of the nation’s health care and public health systems. EMS professionals are continuously ready to answer calls for help when someone is experiencing a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke, or more traumatic accidents such as a fall or a motor vehicle crash.
According to Dr. Scott Harris, the state’s health officer, National EMS Week is a time when everyone should give thanks to EMS professionals who provide lifesaving measures every day without hesitation.
“Throughout the year as well as during National EMS Week, we want to take the time to recognize the continued efforts of our EMS professionals and their selfless commitment to their communities and the health of the citizens of Alabama,” Harris said.