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FOR RELEASE: May 14, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 19-25

National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, a celebration to honor EMS providers nationwide who deliver lifesaving emergency care, is scheduled for May 19-25, 2002. This year's EMS Week theme - Help is a Heartbeat Away - emphasizes the responsiveness, vigilance and compassion of Oklahoma's emergency medical service personnel, whose timely and attentive intervention saves countless lives, and who will continue to ensure our health, protection and physical well being in the years to come.

EMS week is an excellent opportunity to educate the public on an essential community service while recognizing the heroic efforts of EMS providers. Statewide and local activities to honor EMS providers and educate the public will be held throughout the week. EMS agencies around the state will be holding local awareness-raising events, EMS open houses, health fairs and membership drives.

The events of Sept.11, 2001, brought the need for excellent emergency services into sharp focus. Oklahoma's EMS demonstrated their commitment to readiness in the April 2002 bioterrorism training exercise called Sooner Spring.

In Oklahoma, more than 6,000 licensed EMTs and 23,000 First Responders operate 200 ambulance services and over 150 Certified First Response Agencies statewide, forming a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week safety net. They work tirelessly to help victims of disease and injury, despite waning funding and toughening training standards.

For more information about EMS in Oklahoma, contact Shawn Rogers, director of the OSDH EMS Division, at (405) 271-4027.

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Oklahoma City Fundraiser May 22 for EMS victims of Sept. 11 Attack

The EMS Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Oklahoma City Fire Department, the Oklahoma Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Association, Emergency Medical Service Authority, and other EMS organizations will be celebrating EMS week with a car wash at the Oklahoma City Fire Department Training Center on Wed., May 22, all day. Proceeds will go to the families of the EMTs and paramedics lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy while working for privately owned ambulance services.

The public is invited to participate in the car wash to help make it a success. Rescue squads, ambulance and helicopter crews will be on hand to meet the public. Bring the children and enjoy learning about emergency responders while helping the families of fallen heroes.

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