During the week of May 19-25, 2013, Maryland joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. I commend the Maryland EMS providers who respond every day of every month to emergency situations, making our statewide EMS and trauma system a national model for life-saving care. With Gov. Martin O'Malley's commitment to public safety and the well-being of all Maryland's citizens, he has recognized the accomplishments of EMS providers by designating Emergency Medical Services Week in Maryland.
Maryland's EMS system includes thousands of trained and licensed, volunteer and career emergency medical dispatchers, emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, cardiac rescue technicians and paramedics, as well as hospital personnel. As with any organization, it is the people that make the system work. What is extraordinary about Maryland's EMS system is that over half of those people are volunteers. Both career and volunteer personnel engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their life-saving skills. I applaud these men and women whose efforts save lives and minimize the disabling effects of injury in Maryland.
Even with all these highly trained EMS personnel, we need all Maryland citizens to do their part as a vital link in this EMS system. By calling 9-1-1 when they see an emergency and learning CPR, they become a part of the team. The earlier the response, the greater the chances are of survival. I challenge everyone to become involved, and not be one to say, "Someone else will make the call and step up to help save a life."
The citizens of Maryland should be proud of their Emergency Medical Services system and its EMS providers, and join me in congratulating them on a job well done.
Robert R. Bass, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems