National Emergency Medical Services week is celebrated each year during the third week in May, this year's theme-EMS: One Mission. One Team. National EMS Week highlights and honors EMS providers who dedicate their profession to saving lives daily. EMS Week is an opportunity to recognize those emergency medical personnel serving on the front line of medicine and emergency care.
Danielle Hazen, a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) from Morris Township Fire Department, N.J., said it is significant to recognize EMS and bring attention to the medical personnel and the services they provide.
"It's important for the community to see what EMS workers do," said Hazen. "We never think about recognition, but I'm proud that some attention can be given to our community. This is something we are all drawn to and it is what we do, regardless if there is a week to recognize us or not it is something we all have a passion for."
Hazen has been on the front lines for the better part of 10 years as a fire fighter and more than two years as an EMT. She recently trained at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Ala., and attended the Technical Emergency Response Training for CBRNE Incidents (TERT) course. Hazen said, training is a major part of her culture and training only makes the first response community better.
"I actually went to school to be a teacher and I have a degree in education," said Hazen. "Education to me has always been very important. Training like this is another branch of education and constantly educating yourself or training yourself to be better, and remain current with new performance methods keeps me sharp in my profession. As a fire fighter or EMT we work with other professions like police officers and other EMS workers. If everyone is doing their part to train it helps each of us work together that much better."
During EMS Week Hazen hopes that all EMS professionals focus on the profession and remember the reason they chose the job.
"I think it is also important for EMS workers to celebrate together and what we do, day in and day out," she said. "It is valuable to me to work with others and help people. Usually when I see someone it is probably a pretty bad day for them and there is something that triggers me to make their day better-we can't forget that."
The TERT course Hazen attended integrates emergency responders and receivers from multiple disciplines and multiple jurisdictions in a realistic training environment that gives the students a better understanding of each discipline's capabilities, roles, and responsibilities in catastrophic events. She also had the opportunity to train in toxic environment using nerve agents GB and VX and biological materials anthrax and ricin.
"EMS Week is chance for us to focus on professional development. I'm very impressed with the CDP. The facility is amazing and the instructors are top notch. I'm looking forward to coming back to future classes. I've gained a lot this week."