Celebrating EMS Week 2023: Where Emergency Care Begins


From May 21-27, 2023, we recognize the emergency services personnel and emergency medical services (EMS) teams that save lives and serve communities across the United States. EMS Week 2023 focuses on the theme “Where Emergency Care Begins.”

EMS teams include a range of professionals who respond to emergency situations. From dispatch to emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to paramedics and even nurses, these people react quickly and are essential as the first line of care people receive outside the hospital.

EMS teams provide prehospital, emergent, urgent and preventive care. In the past few years, EMS teams have also offered COVID-19 testing, treated people with COVID-19 and provided flu vaccines. They also help connect patients to hospice and mental health services. EMS Week recognizes these professionals’ vital contributions to their communities.

The History of EMS Week

This year’s events mark the 49th annual National EMS Week. President Gerald Ford established the first EMS Week in 1974 to recognize the work these professionals do at a time when the field of civilian paramedicine was still relatively new. ACEP and NAEMT work together to create resources and guides that local emergency services organizations can use to honor and celebrate their staff with the community.

Today, ACEP distributes 25,000 EMS Week Planning Guides to groups across the country, including fire departments, volunteer groups, rescue squads and emergency departments.

How to Celebrate EMS Week 2023

Emergency medical care begins when first responders arrive and start providing lifesaving care. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) lead activities throughout the week with different themes each day.

Emergency services agencies can use this year’s themes to structure events and activities to honor the medical professionals in their organizations.

Sunday: Health, Wellness and Resilience Day

This day focuses on recognizing the need to care for the health and wellness of emergency services professionals. Activities on this day can center on self-care, stress reduction and personal health.

Monday: Education Day

Education Day recognizes continuing education and highlights public education programs. Activities can include special training programs or community education programs about injury prevention.

Tuesday: EMS Safety Day

This day promotes the safety of EMS professionals, patients and the public. Activities may focus on ways to promote safe communities, including driving safety, mental health, fall prevention and other common situations that lead to the need for emergency care.

Wednesday: EMS for Children Day

This day highlights the unique needs of prehospital care for children. Events on this day can look at training programs within the agency or community events about first aid or best practices for car seat and bicycle safety.

Thursday: Save-A-Life Day

Save-A-Life Day focuses on the lifesaving skills of CPR and bleeding prevention with STOP THE BLEED®. Activities can focus on the role bystanders play in keeping people alive before EMS personnel arrive. Save-A-Life Day is also a great time to promote training courses.

Friday: EMS Recognition Day

EMS Recognition Day recognizes local heroes who save lives. Organizations can share their members’ stories and promote activities that celebrate their actions.

EMS organizations don’t need to take part in activities alone. Community organizations and schools can also plan themed activities to celebrate the emergency responders in their area. Activities can also be joint efforts between all these groups to celebrate and raise awareness about specific safety issues.

The week’s themes and activities serve to make EMS professionals feel appreciated and recognized among their colleagues and the communities they serve. The American Heart Association encourages people to nominate a Heartsaver Hero. The Heartsaver Hero award recognizes people, both professionals and bystanders, who have saved lives by performing CPR.

EMS Week is a time when the community and emergency organizations can get creative and have fun. Celebrate these professionals’ contributions by sharing their roles with the community and hosting educational events.

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