National EMS Week

National EMS Week is a time to thank paramedics, EMTs and the entire EMS workforce for their service and sacrifices. Dedicated first responders provide immediate care during a health crisis. These trained professionals work around the clock to make sure care is available quickly when responding to calls. They are the true definition of “first responders”, having the task to assess and determine vital information to the hospital before the patient arrives.

In 1973, the Florida Legislature passed and enacted what is known today as the Raymond H. Alexander, M.D., Emergency Medical Transportation Services Act. The Legislature recognized the need for the uniform and systematic provision of emergency medical services to save lives and reduce disability associated with illness and injury. Further, the emergency medical services system of care must be equally capable of assessing, treating, and transporting children, adults, and elderly persons. Today, the Emergency Medical Services Section is responsible for the licensure and oversight of over 60,000 Emergency Medical technicians and paramedics, 270+ advanced and basic life support agencies and over 4,500 EMS vehicles. In addition, the section certifies 911 public safety telecommunicators.

November 1974 marked the first National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week from November 3rd to November 10th. President Gerald Ford announced this to celebrate EMS and the amazing work they do. The observance was moved to May in 1992 to establish a clear separation between EMS Week and Fire Prevention Week.

Some important dates associated with EMS include:

  • 1968 – AT&T designates the number 911 for emergency use
  • 1969 – First nationally recognized curriculum is published for EMTs
  • 1972 – First residency program is established to train physicians for emergency medicine
  • 1979 – The American Ambulance association is formed
  • 1999 – Columbine High School attack led to the American Red Cross incorporating defibrillator training into its CPR course

Florida EMS Awards

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) honors men and women providing lifesaving services each year. For over 25 years, the FDOH has paid tribute to our brave medical professionals and agencies through the EMS Awards.

The 2018 award recipients are:

EMS Provider of the Year: This award honors an EMS service that assumed a leadership role in EMS by achievement in the areas of quality assurance/improvement, patient care, public access, medical control, disaster preparedness, public education and/or training in Florida. 

Winner: Town of Davie Fire and Rescue Department

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) of the Year: This award honors an EMT whose job responsibility is direct patient care and who has demonstrated independent initiative in the areas of quality assurance/improvement, patient care, public access, medical control, disaster preparedness, public education and/or training and support, involvement and dedication to their EMS community and profession.

Winner: Arron White, Manatee County Emergency Medical Services

Paramedic of the Year: This award honors a paramedic whose job responsibility is direct patient care and who has demonstrated independent initiative in the areas of quality assurance/improvement, patient care, public access, medical control, disaster preparedness, public education and/or training, and support, involvement and dedication to their EMS community and profession.

Winner: Jazlyn Zombo, Seminole County Fire and Rescue Department

Beth Rogers Nursing Award: This award recognizes the dedication and achievements of Florida air and ground transport nurses who have demonstrated enhancement of their profession through skill, participation, and support of excellence in patient care.

Winner: Michael Rushing, Sacred Heart Hospital

Larry S. Jordan EMS Hall of Fame: This award honors an individual for lifetime achievement in the field of emergency medical services.

Winner: Debbie Vase, Sunstar Paramedics

Marilyn Crook EMS Pioneer: This award honors an individual for their efforts to advance the EMS profession through their visionary leadership, innovation, and promotion of best practices by building internal and external partnerships.

Winner: Carl Shank, St. Johns County Fire and Rescue Department

Friend to EMS: This award honors an individual or organization that is not employed with an EMS agency but has successfully enhanced EMS through their partnership or promotion of EMS activities.

Winner: Tender Care Medical Services

Raymond H. Alexander, MD, EMS Medical Director of the Year: This award honors a physician who serves as a medical director for a Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support or Air Service. The winner must demonstrate excellence in the areas of quality assurance/improvement and medical control, in addition to the promotion and utilization of new medical trends and technologies.

Winner: Kerry Bachista, MD, St. Johns County Fire and Rescue Department

911 Public Safety Telecommunicator of the Year: This award honors a dispatcher for outstanding efforts in processing a Florida medical emergency call.

Winner: Crista Britton, Lee County Public Safety/Lee Control

EMS Educator of the Year: This award honors an EMS instructor or course coordinator who has made a positive contribution to EMS education in Florida.

Winner: Louis Mallory, Florida Association of EMS Educators/Santa Fe College

Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Star of Life Award: Honors a health care professional or organization for outstanding achievement in the care of ill or injured children (18 years of age or younger) in at least one of these areas: education, clinical care, community service or disaster management.

Winner: Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department including Justin Morris, Roger Alexander, James Peacock, Joseph Rhoden, Cullen Lavasseur, Joshua McCall, Cole Stanford, Kayla Stephens

EMS Injury Prevention: This award honors an EMS professional who has demonstrated outstanding initiative and promoted best practices to prevent injuries, in at least one area of injury prevention, such as motor vehicle safety, drowning, falls, burn prevention, etc.

Winner: James Crutchfield, Manatee County Emergency Medical Services

EMS Disaster Preparedness and Response Award: This award honors an individual who has demonstrated exceptional proficiency in developing response plans, made significant contributions to help prepare Florida for health and medical responses to significant emergencies or disasters, and has demonstrated leadership and initiative in the areas of emergency medical preparedness, education, and response.

Winner: David Hudak, Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services

Ways To Recognize National EMS Week

  • Show recognition to your community heroes on social media and use #NationalEMSWeek
  • Connect with a food truck or restaurant to offer free meals to first responders
  • Host a blood drive and invite the public
  • Have a Q&A with an EMS professional at your job for employees or virtually for the public
  • Have your staff complete CPR Training from the American Heart Association
  • Host a family fun event for all EMS personnel and their families