During this week, May 20 through 26, Maryland joins the rest of the nation in celebrating National Emergency Medical Services 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.
Maryland's EMS system includes thousands of trained and certified, volunteer and career emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, cardiac rescue technicians and paramedics, communication specialists, as well as hospital emergency department and trauma center personnel. As with any organization, it is the people that make the system work. What is extraordinary about Maryland's EMS system is that about two-thirds 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 the courage, expertise, dedication, and compassion of these men and women, whose efforts save lives and minimize the disabling effects of injury in Maryland.
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. Gov. O'Malley stated, "The citizens of Maryland are grateful for the excellent care provided by Maryland's nationally recognized EMS and Trauma system; 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
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, they become a part of the team by setting the system in motion. The earlier this process starts, the faster trained help can arrive and better the chances of survival for the ill or injured person. I challenge everyone to become involved, and not be one of the many who say: "Someone else will make the call…"
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, M.D., FACEP
Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS)