The often unheralded contributions of first responders garnered considerable attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, when much about COVID-19 was still a mystery, first responders put their lives on the line and worked long hours to help people in need.
EMS workers were on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Even though life has now returned to normal, EMS workers continue to bravely provide an invaluable public service. The contributions of EMS workers are worthy of recognition and celebration. The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians suggests these community-based efforts can be great ways to celebrate EMS workers who save lives and help make their towns and cities safe each and every day.
- Host a blood drive. A blood shortage during the pandemic left many hospitals scrambling for potentially life-saving blood. Though the American Red Cross indicated the blood supply had stabilized in the early months of 2023, shortages remain a possibility. Community leaders can work alongside local EMS agencies and help them to organize local blood drives to reduce vulnerability to shortages in the future. Leaders and local business leaders can work together to offer incentives to donors, such as discounted meals, items or services at popular restaurants, stores and service providers in town.
- Highlight EMS workers on community social media accounts. Many locals now get their community news and other information from social media accounts linked to township offices and departments. Leaders can use these platforms to shine a light on local EMS workers. Interview a different EMS worker each month, speaking to them about what inspired them to become a first responder and what they like about the job, but also their own interests and hobbies when they are not on duty.
- Highlight life-saving efforts. Communities also can utilize social media platforms and other programs to showcase EMS workers who have gone to extraordinary lengths to help others. Share information about EMS workers who have saved a life and even promote public events when those workers are commended. Encourage people affected by EMS workers’ life-saving efforts, including the person who was saved and their family members, to share their stories and express their appreciation.
- Let residents tour EMS facilities. It’s easy to take EMS workers for granted because they do not often seek attention. But that does not mean they’re not worthy. Allow locals to tour EMS facilities during certain times each month, which can help locals gain greater recognition of everything EMS workers do to keep communities safe.
EMS workers are worthy of recognition and celebration. There are many ways for community leaders and residents to express their appreciation to these invaluable workers.