About EMS Week

Honoring Our Past. Forging Our Future.

Half a century ago, a presidential proclamation called on the nation to support efforts to improve emergency medical care across the country. It also established the first national EMS Week, a tradition we proudly continue today. Much has changed since 1974, yet there is still much we can learn from those trailblazing professionals who helped EMS evolve into the sophisticated branch of medicine it is today. Their dedication, commitment and sacrifice inspire us to take bold steps of our own, to continue to seek out ways to better serve our patients and our communities.

This year, we celebrate EMS Week by honoring our past—by taking a pause to recognize the contributions of each generation, the people who dreamed that we could save more lives and have less suffering, and then found ways to make it happen. EMS Week is never just about the past, however. It’s also about inspiring the EMS professionals just starting out and the young people who haven’t even discovered EMS yet. It’s about learning from the challenges and building on the successes of the last five decades. It’s about forging our future—a future in which the next generation has the tools they need to deliver compassionate care and alleviate suffering in communities everywhere.

The History of EMS Week

In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS professionals and the important work they do in our nation's communities. National Emergency Medical Services Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day lifesaving services of medicine's frontline. EMS Week is presented by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in partnership with the National Associations of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). Together, NAEMT and ACEP lead annual EMS Week activities. These organizations are working to ensure that the important contributions of EMS professionals in safeguarding the health, safety and well-being of their communities are fully celebrated and recognized.

The National Association of EMTs Welcomes You to EMS Week 2024

Susan Bailey, MSEM, NRP

President, NAEMT

ACEP President Aisha Terry, MD, MPH, FACEP, commemorates the 50th anniversary of EMS Week

May 22nd: EMS Day at Museum

The National Museum of American History will explore the history of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the U.S. during the 50th Anniversary of EMS Week with a special day of events.The roots of today's Emergency Medical Services go back to the chaotic field care during wartime battles, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Over time, it developed into today's EMS with specialists trained to respond to accidents and disasters, from heart attacks and home fires to hurricanes, earthquakes, and terror attacks. Pittsburgh’s Freedom House Ambulance Service, founded in 1967, was staffed by Black paramedics and was one of the first ambulance services to offer emergency medical services in the U.S. The afternoon events will include a panel discussion with John Moon, one of the Freedom House paramedics, and others. Representatives from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Emergency Medical Services (NHTSA OEMS), the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), and DC Fire and EMS (DCFEMS) will be on hand to talk about the history of saving lives in an emergency Visitors will also be able to see related objects from the museum's collection and vintage ambulances.

May 23rd:  EMS Week on the National Mall

  • Location: National Mall, 9th Street, between Madison and Jefferson
  • Time: 11:30 am – 4:00 pm Eastern Time
  • Activities
    • Antique and Modern Ambulances on display
    • Hands-on Heart CPR and AED Training
    • Stop the Bleed and Tourniquet Training
  • Guest speakers to include:
    • ACEP President
    • NAEMT President
    • ACS Executive Director
    • NHTSA Office of EMS
    • Federal Interagency Committee on EMS
    • USFA
    • And more……..

EMS Week Theme Days

Having special theme days during EMS Week helps to structure the week in terms of planning special events, conducting training and hosting celebrations. Remember all the days of EMS Week when planning your agency’s activities. 

Sunday is Health, Wellness, and Resilience Day
SPONSORED BY FirstNet®, Built with AT&T
To promote the health, wellness, and resilience of EMS professionals and patients. Health, Wellness, and Resilience Day highlights the need to recognize and care for the health and wellness of EMS professionals and patients and share ideas on strengthening resilience. It is an opportunity to step back and take care of ourselves through self-care and care for our fellow EMS professionals and the patients in our care every day.

Monday is Education Day
Highlighting public education programs and EMS professionals' education.
Education Day seeks to highlight community educational programs and the importance of continuing education for EMS professionals. This is the ideal day to plan a community injury or illness prevention program and a special CE course for your agency. Consider in-person or online community education programs related to the prevention of falls, burns, poisoning, or drowning.

Tuesday is EMS Safety Day
To promote Safety for the EMS professional, the patient, and the public, Safety Day encourages first responders to focus on risk and prevention rather than possible negative outcomes and aims to advance safety measures for both the community and the profession. This is a great day to highlight stress reduction, self-care, and mental health awareness programs. Other options for programs include improved situational awareness, driving and roadway safety, vehicle and device maintenance, proper lifting techniques, or violence awareness.

Wednesday is EMS for Children Day
To highlight the special needs of caring for children EMS for Children Day highlights the distinctive physiological and psychological aspects of caring for children and serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about improving specialized care for children in pre-hospital and acute care settings. Consider planning a pediatric care educational event for your clinicians and a community program related to first aid, emergency preparedness, car seats or bicycle safety.
Thursday is Save-A-Life Day
To promote Stop the Bleed, public CPR programs and other programs It doesn’t matter how quickly EMS professionals get to a scene—bystanders will almost always be there first. Save-A-Life Day empowers the general public to learn and apply steps that can be taken to help save a life. This is an ideal day to schedule community CPR and Stop the Bleed educational courses. Take advantage of the many programs and toolkits available that make it easier to coordinate these programs.

Thursday is also STOP THE BLEED® Day!
Please check out the STOP THE BLEED® Project website and all of the programs for STOP THE BLEED® Day including:
  • STOP THE BLEED® Day (Save the date! May 23, 2024!)
  • STOP THE BLEED® Day Scholarships - over $175,000 awarded to date! Available for high school and college students. Applications now open!
  • STOP THE BLEED® Day Grants - Grants from $1,000 to $100,000! Applications now open!
  • The fast growing STOP THE BLEED® Day Ambassador program (now in 75+ countries).

Friday is EMS Recognition Day


To recognize your local EMS heroes and those who save lives through the EMS system. On EMS Recognition Day, we honor members of the EMS community who regularly go above and beyond what’s expected. It’s a day to give gratitude to first responders for their unwavering commitment to serving their communities. Plan an awards event, a special meal, a gift-giving event, and other honors for EMS Recognition Day.

Saturday is EMS Remembrance Day

To honor emergency medical services personnel who have died in the line-of-duty and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice they made for their communities. We thank them for their service to EMS and for bringing comfort and lifesaving care to their patients. They leave us with the proud memory of their commitment and dedication to EMS. This day is set aside to recognize those fallen EMS professionals and their families. Some ideas for this day include: Plan a memorial ceremony, hold a moment of silence event, create a Wall of Honor, host a ceremony to recognize families or establish a memorial scholarship.

Need Help Writing Your Own EMS Week Proclamation?
See sample proclamations for help

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