National EMS Week is a time to honor local Emergency Medical Services responders and promote awareness of their everyday services to the public. Since 1974, every American President has signed a National EMS Week Proclamation. This year’s version of EMS Week is particularly notable, given the enormous challenges facing EMS personnel due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, as well as the heroic efforts being made by so many EMS providers to help save lives, even as they risk the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
This year’s EMS Week theme: “Ready Today. Preparing for Tomorrow” seems quite appropriate. Despite the many dangers and difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad have continued to provide emergency pre-hospital care and ambulance transport, while diligently taking the precautions required to stay healthy and able to serve in this environment. “The challenges have increased dramatically, and some of our procedures have changed in response to them, but our mission most certainly has not”, said Squad President Bob Flanagan. “Under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, our members have continued to answer 9-1-1 calls every day and night.”
Summit EMS volunteers began their EMS week recognition with a salute to EMS responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty this year, including 12 in New Jersey.
The Squad has been the City’s lead EMS agency since 1962, providing basic life support care and emergency ambulance transportation. Other components of our EMS system include first responders from the Fire & Police Departments, Paramedics from Overlook Medical Center, Emergency Nurses & Physicians, 9-1-1 dispatchers and citizen first responders. In addition to providing 24-hour emergency services, the Squad’s mission also includes public education in first aid, CPR, accident prevention and emergency preparedness.