KANKAKEE – To show appreciation for EMS workers in the 79th District and Illinois, State Representative Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) is promoting National EMS Week. National EMS Week began when President Gerald Ford declared it on November 3rd – 10th, 1974 and was moved to the third week in May in 1992. The theme for this year is “Where Emergency Care Begins” according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.
“In some of the scariest and often worst situations of our lives, the calm presence of an EMS worker brings peace to chaotic circumstances,” said Rep. Haas. “That is a gift to all who they serve. We should show our appreciation for our phenomenal emergency medical services workers and paramedics this week and always. EMS workers are with us in traumatic moments, so let’s also remember to support EMS workers and be mindful of their mental health and what they sacrifice to keep us healthy and safe.”
According to the 2020 National EMS Assessment, there were 1,030,760 licensed EMS professionals in the United States, including paid and volunteer EMS workers. Job hazards EMS workers face include lifting patients and equipment, treating patients with infectious illnesses, and more, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In 2020, approximately 16,900 injuries and illnesses among EMS workers were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. Emergency responders can likely come into contact with illicit drugs during routine job duties, including fentanyl.
The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians also states that EMS practitioners face the effect of patient needs, long workdays, physical health, and sleep deprivation. An October 2020 article from the Journal of Emergency Medical Services highlights how 69% of EMS providers reported never having enough time to recover between traumatic events. About 30% of first responders develop mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, and Acute Stress Disorder (ASD).