“Ready Today. Planning for Tomorrow.”

That’s the theme of this year’s National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) week, May 17- 23. It couldn’t be more appropriate in describing Maryland’s EMS clinicians who have been an important part of the front line force to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year in Maryland the EMS system will respond to more than 1 million calls for help. Emergency medical dispatchers, emergency medical responders, EMTs, cardiac rescue technicians, and paramedics will meet fellow Marylanders and visitors during some of their worse moments.

At any time they are ready to go places most of us would not choose and to help people they do not know. Often, as during the current pandemic, they risk their own health.

Expert help is a mere phone call away. At any hour of day or night, literally thousands of people are standing at the ready to respond to emergencies of all types. They are career personnel and committed volunteers.

They undergo hundreds of hours of specialized and continuing education. Planning never ends. They are in our urban centers and rural corners, and they do their work with little fanfare. Give a wave. Just say, “Thanks!”

We can all do something else. Plan to learn CPR. A critical link in the chain of survival, CPR saves lives.

Learn to stop the bleed. Simple, easy to learn techniques can control life­ threatening bleeding. These efforts will amplify the life-saving success of the EMS system.

I hope every Marylander will help to make National EMS Week mean something here at home.

There is no doubt that Maryland’s EMS system, and its thousands of committed men and women, are Ready Today. They are continually Planning for Tomorrow. Marylanders should be thankful and proud!

Dr. Ted Delbridge,

Executive director, Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems


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