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FOR RELEASE: May 11, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

EMS Workers are There When You Need Us
National Emergency Medical Services Week is May 16-22

National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, May 16-22, is a celebration to honor EMS providers nationwide who deliver lifesaving emergency care. This year's EMS Week theme, There When You Need Us, speaks to the commitment of EMS providers to answer the needs of their communities, and the countless ways they work to ensure our health, protection and the physical well being of people.

“EMS Week honors the lifesaving care EMS providers offer nationwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a unique opportunity to recognize the responsiveness, passion and commitment of EMS providers. These caregivers are dedicated to providing rapid, high quality medical responses throughout the state, often under very challenging conditions. We are pleased to have this opportunity to salute them,” said Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) EMS Director Shawn Rogers.

Oklahoma’s 7,000 licensed Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), 200 licensed ambulance services, and 150 Certified First Response agencies are impacted by decreasing budgets and increasing demands. Workloads have continued to increase, while salaries have not kept pace with the labor market.

Oklahoma ambulance service closures doubled from 2002-2003, and doubled again in 2003-2004. Despite these challenges, Oklahoma EMS responded to 300,000 calls for service in 2003.

“EMS Week is an excellent opportunity to improve public awareness of this essential community service while encouraging our leaders to recognize the unmet needs of EMS providers,” Rogers said.

Statewide and local activities that honor EMS providers and educate the public will be held throughout the week. Oklahoma City area activities will be held on Monday, May 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State Capitol, and Wednesday, May 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oklahoma State Department of Health in the 1st floor atrium.

For more information about the activities planned during EMS Week in Oklahoma, contact Shawn Rogers at 405/271-4027.

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