National EMS Week is May 19-25; A time to thank those dedicated volunteers for making a difference

This is National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. National EMS Week honors the lifesaving care EMS providers offer nationwide, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The national theme for EMS Week this year is “Honoring our Past, Forging our Future.”

EMS Week began in 1974 after a proclamation was called on the nation to support efforts to improve emergency medical care across the county. Much has changed in the care provided by emergency medical professionals since that time, but the dedication to help others continues.

The theme this year recognized all of those past contributions, saving more lives with less suffering.  The theme also inspires EMS professionals who are just starting out, to build on the successes of the past and forging the future of the next generation and the tools they will need to deliver compassionate care and alleviate suffering in communities everywhere.

The area ambulance services who commonly arrive with patients at Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) (listed in alphabetic order) includes the Caledonia Ambulance, Harpers Ferry Rescue Squad, Lansing Ambulance Service, Monona Ambulance Service, New Albin Fire, Postville Ambulance Service, Waterville Rescue Squad, all in addition to the Waukon Veterans Memorial Hospital service.

The Veterans Memorial Hospital ambulance service runs have increased from 867 runs in 2022 to 1,051 in 2023, which is a 21% increase between calendar years. Currently there are 24 active EMS providers who work hard providing seamless coverage to the area, but more are always needed.

Veterans Memorial Hospital’s paramedic service also covers other area services when they are short staffed, especially during the daytime hours, and provide advanced life support in services for the majority of the county.

A Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) class was recently completed with a number of new graduates who will soon be joining the area ambulance services, after successful completion of their national registry testing.  Cheryl Livingston, hospital Paramedic, instructed the class.

EMTs are greatly needed in every community. Veterans Memorial Hospital hopes to offer another class in the next year. With this certification, individuals are able to volunteer on their own community’s ambulance service or rescue squad, as well as be prepared for careers in emergency services. But the satisfaction of helping others and giving back to the community is the real reward for becoming an EMT.

For more information about local EMT service opportunities and future classes, contact Jacob Dougherty, Paramedic, EMS Supervisor, or Cheryl Livingston, Paramedic, EMS Instructor, at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.