EMS Week highlights first responders’ contributions

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 12:27 PM EDT
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(WBNG) - Amy Polhamus pulls out of the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad garage with the same goal she has every day: To help those in the community in any way she can.

However, Monday was different, because it was the start of EMS week. A week dedicated to first responders such as Polhamus, who devote both their time and efforts with the common goal of saving those in dire circumstances.

“It takes a toll on your family life, your life, so it’s important to not only recognize EMS one week out of the year but to acknowledge them when you see them, you know just thank them for the job they do for sacrificing all of their time, their bodies, you know this is not a young person’s job,” Polhamus said.

The mental toll first responders take on can sometimes be too troubling to bear. According to a 2022 report USA Today, police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, there were 127 suicides reported among firefighters and EMTs in 2020, slightly higher than the 126 confirmed in 2017.

One of the most common misconceptions is that those in the field arrive at a scene just to transport those injured or suffering to a hospital, when in reality that’s where the work begins.

“We do a lot of things that are done in the ER, a lot of procedures and treatments that can be done at the hospital we can do in the back of an ambulance or in somebody’s house,” said Kelsey Davidson, a paramedic. “It’s not just arrived at point a and point b, we are assessing and treating and relaying all that information to the hospital to continue care.”