What if you called an no one was there

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What if you needed help, called 9-1-1 ... and no one was ready to come to your aid? Most of us can't imagine such a scenario.

And, thanks to some 8,000 emergency medical service providers in Nebraska, most of us won't have to.

Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors, whether it's running or walking, boating, horseback riding, motorcycling or just driving the family car.

It's not all play, of course; summer is also time for farm and construction work, home repair, or even yard maintenance or gardening.

And let's not forget about the Fourth of July, with its special pyrotechnic activities. Unfortunately, each of these activities carries its own hazards, and it's appropriate that this week, May 15-21, is set aside as National Emergency Medical Services Week to honor those who come when we need them most.

This year's theme, "Ready, Responsive, Reliable," holds true, especially in McCook and the area.

As Marc A. Harpham, fire chief and paramedic for the City of McCook pointed out in an Open Forum letter this week, EMS providers, whether volunteer or career, not only provide excellent care for those in need, but spend thousands of hours receiving the specialized training and continuing education to hone the skills needed to do their jobs.

In order to provide emergency care in Nebraska, individuals must successfully complete a course and certification in each of four increasing levels of skills: First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, EMT-Intermediate or EMT-Paramedic.

Fortunately for McCook, a local paramedic program is in place allowing better care, sooner, to give accident victims or those with a health emergency a better chance at survival and recovery.

And it's not just the providers who deserve recognition this week. There are many family members, employers and co-workers who gladly sacrifice their own time to allow the EMT provider to respond to an emergency, all hours of the day and night.

Sacrifice. Professionalism. Dedication. Caring. No one personifies those traits more than our emergency medical services providers. Next time you see one of them, let them know you appreciate all they do.

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