To our emergency responders, thanks

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 16-22 is National EMS week. This is a time to recognize a group of people that work tirelessly to help others, often without appreciation.

These are the people, who for a moment in time, you may need to trust with your life or that of a loved one. These are the individuals that crawl into a twisted metal box that once was a car to search for signs of life.

They endure extreme weather conditions and environmental hazards to provide medical care and life saving measures. They often risk their own safety to help others. It makes one wonder what kind of dedication it takes to shoulder the responsibility of life and death decisions that must be made in split seconds in uncontrolled environments. This group of individuals copes on a daily basis with variables which few of us could tolerate.

The Emergency Medical System as we know it today began in the 1960s. Research showed in 1965 that 52 million accidental injuries killed 107,000 Americans, temporarily disabled more than 10 million and permanently impaired 400,000 more at a cost of $18 billion.

This led to the National Highway Safety Act in 1966. Trauma related costs now exceed $400 billion annually in the United States.

As an emergency room nurse and as a mother, I have witnessed the value of the EMS system. As a nurse I witness on a daily basis the life saving measures emergency workers perform with care and compassion.

As a mother, I came to know their value several years ago when my teenage son was involved in a car accident in an adjacent county.

Their county’s EMS system was taxed beyond their capacity and a service from Adams County sent a unit out of their service area to respond to this emergency.

It is a great feeling to see that help arrive when you need it.

This week, take a moment to thank an EMT, paramedic or other emergency response person if you can.

You never know when you might be the one that needs their help.

Lisa Lehmann is a Natchez resident.