EDITORIAL: Anytime, anywhere, they’ll be there

Times-Reporter editorial board

Thirty-eight years ago, the U.S. celebrated the first week dedicated to emergency medical services. This week marks the 38th annual National EMS Week. This year’s theme is “Anytime, anywhere. We will be there.”

That kind of dedication deserves more than just one week of recognition.

Although many people are aware that the Washington Fire Department is a volunteer department, they do not realize that many emergency medical technicians are also volunteers, or that the paid paramedics work 24-hour shifts so there is always someone there to answer an emergency call.

And for those on call, the beeper going off means missed meals, missed sleep and time away from their families.

They do all this because they want to help others in their time of need. And through their helping, they become deeply entrenched in their community.

With every call to which they respond, they strengthen this bond to their community. It is a small gesture of thanks that the community honors them with a week dedicated to them.

At the potluck Friday night, there was lots of talk about having family support and understanding of what EMS members do.

The dinner, however, was only attended by EMS members, firefighters and their families. And the sign in front of the fire department is actually thanking the community for its support of the EMS, when, in reality, the community should be thanking them.

Since one week is not enough to thank them for the 1,100 calls to which they respond every year, saving lives and putting their own safety at risk, Washington should at least try to make that one week count.

Take the time to thank a paramedic or EMT this week. Make them a plate of cookies, a cake, send them a card or simply buy them a beer in recognition of their service to public safety.