Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
If you have a reason to say thank you EMS, then you’ve probably had a close encounter with an EMS professional. If so, you were probably in the middle of an emergency and beyond grateful that they were there to save you. As with other first responders, when you need Emergency Medical Services (EMS), you really need EMS. It’s often a matter of life and death. Here we offer a little insight to the different EMS professions, the special observances in their honor, and some suggestions on how to offer our gratitude and show our appreciation.
Because an EMS professional swoops into your life, saves you, and then swoops out again, you might not get a chance to thank them. Many folks will get information about the team that rescued them and go back to thank them. Sometimes EMS professionals will visit patients they have saved, later, when they are feeling better. Whatever the case, the opportunities to thank these heroes, who do so much in our communities, cannot come often enough.
National EMS Week
A way we can thank EMS providers, on a national level, is to help celebrate National EMS Week in May. The week was made official by President Gerald Ford in 1974 as a way to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities. It is sponsored by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
Ways to Say Thank You EMS
We compiled a list of fun ways to recognize and say thank you for the impact that Emergency Medical Services has on our lives during National Emergency Services Week. Some excellent suggestions include:
- Host a community reception to connect medical emergency survivors and EMS personnel
- Ask your city or state Government to enact a proclamation honoring local EMS
- Participate in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, (in Boston, Fayetteville, St. Paul, Snowmass, Reno)
- Deliver a thank you note to your local EMS organization
- Place yellow, white, and blue ribbons on trees in honor of EMS
- Put together a basket with snacks for a local EMS Team
- Create thank-you cards with your kids to show your local EMS professionals how much you care
- Host a blood drive recognizing EMS Week with t-shirts
- Donate money to the organizations that support EMS professionals
- Hire a food truck and park it outside an EMS facility to say thank you
- Host a “virtual tour” of an ambulance facility and the life-saving equipment inside, and post it on social media. This will give your community a chance to meet their EMS heroes
- Create an EMT or Paramedic of the Year Award in your community. Ask for nominations from both EMS personnel and the people they have helped. Post the winner on social media
- Honor fallen EMS personnel. EMS Week can be a time to remember those who died in the line of duty. Honor their sacrifice by planting a memorial garden or making a donation in their name. The National EMS Memorial Service will be streamed from Arlington. This is an annual event to memorialize those who have become sick or injured, or have died, in the line of duty.
- Become a First On The Scene (FOTS) teacher. Teach community citizens a 4-hour course that prepares them to respond to medical emergencies that may occur in everyday circumstances or during mass casualty events such as shootings or motor vehicle collisions
- Recognize EMS for Children Day by encouraging your local schools to celebrate the work that EMS practitioners provide to our youngest community residents.
National EMS Week has themes every year, and it also has themed days throughout the week.
National EMS Week Theme Days
- Sunday – Health, Wellness and Resilience Day
- Monday – EMS Education Day
- Tuesday – Safety Tuesday
- Wednesday – EMS for Children Day
- Thursday – Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed)
- Friday – EMS Recognition Day
National First Responders Day
There’s also a National First Responders Day on October 28 each year, and this includes EMS service members, along with law enforcement officers and firefighters. In addition to pervasive wildfires, the nation is facing an increase in floods, droughts, hurricanes, blizzards, earthquakes and other natural disasters. EMS is on the front lines, for all of us, during these crises. Many of the ways you can thank EMS professionals during their week in May will also work for this national holiday.
Personal Thank You Letter to EMS From One of Our Own
Our own National Director, Abby Waltz, wrote a thank you letter to all EMS workers, and directly to a select few for saving her life.
“You never think it will happen to you. Until one day it does and before you know it, helping hands are coming to your rescue. True heroes that are waiting in the wings to swoop in and save us in our deepest, darkest, life-threatening times of need. Only to be gone just as quickly without a moment for us to say thank you. Here is the story of my personal heroes who did just that…
It was the summer going into my senior year of high-school. My girlfriend and I were coming home from a short summer trip we had taken to house-sit for her sister. We were driving through the all too familiar skinny two-lane highways, engulfed by corn fields in small town Iowa when the unthinkable happened.
In the blink of an eye, we were hit, head-on going 60 miles an hour in a tiny Aspire (aka a golf cart) when everything went black. The first time I regained consciousness, I was in total shock. Everything around me was muted and muffled, I couldn’t feel a single thing throughout my entire body. I remember tasting iron from the blood that was flowing over my face and the fiery smell of explosives from the airbags. In the distance, I could hear a man’s voice but I couldn’t make out his exact words. All I could tell was that he was quoting scripture of some sort. I later learned that man was a bystander standing right outside the driver’s side door, reading us our last rites through the shattered windows. Then nothing. I came-to again but I still couldn’t see anything. My face felt cool from all the blood and I heard an extremely loud crunching, crackling noise that sounded as though the car was going to collapse into itself at any minute. They were trying to get me out with the jaws of life. I was in total shock and completely void of any emotion right up until the point when my brain turned against me and went into flight-mode. I was absolutely petrified.
But then, in the faint background, I heard this muffled, soothing, calm, voice saying my name, telling me that everything was going to be ok…I just needed to stay super still and not move for a little longer and they were there to help. It was coming from behind me! I found extreme comfort from that voice in the back almost as though it had lifted this huge burden off me. I knew help was there and I could just breathe. I stayed laser focused on that voice for as long as I could but I must have blacked out again. The next thing I remember was that very voice excitedly saying my name again as I opened my eyes in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see my friend and I knew we were getting the help we needed.
I don’t remember much about that day but what I do remember is vividly painted in my brain and has stuck with me my whole life. I remember the immediate comfort I received from that voice and knowing that I had helping hands surrounding me from those first responders that had arrived on the scene. They not only saved my life, they kept me calm and eased my fears through the scariest time of my life. More notably, they were there for my mom, dad and little brother during one of the most horrific times my family had ever been through. I cannot even imagine the thoughts that were going through their heads while driving the two hours to the scene of the accident to be by my side. That day could have turned from horrific to tragic for my family had it not been for those EMS team members responding so quickly and taking the right immediate actions to save me, while the voice calmed me down just by talking to me. Their actions and care have had incredibly positive ripple effects that altered not just mine, but so many other lives that day.
A couple of days after the accident the EMS team stopped by my hospital room to see how I was doing and check-in on my family. They continued to show care, compassion and put in extra hours when they didn’t have to and go above and beyond what any of us would have expected. At the time, I didn’t realize the extent of just how much that EMS team and the other first responders there that day changed my life, but I certainly do now.
To the complete stranger that I now lovingly refer to as “the voice”, and the rest of the EMS team that provided swift, exceptional care and comfort during the most horrific and terrifying moment of my life, THANK YOU! I’ll never be able to fully express my deepest and sincerest gratitude from myself and my family. I owe you my life and am committed to honoring your selfless actions and dedication with the work I continue to do to serve EMS and first responders across the country. To you and every member of the EMS community who swoops in to save the day and leaves before we get a chance to say it…THANK YOU!”
Homes for Heroes Says Thank You EMS
It would be a mistake to lump all the different EMS specialties together, and each specialty deserves its own thanks.
Emergency Medical Responder EMR
These professionals are usually first on the scene, and they typically administer medical aid with a minimum of equipment. EMRs learn to treat immediate life threats until additional EMS resources arrive. They do not typically work in ambulance services unless they work in rural areas or with volunteer departments. Like superheroes, EMRs may have secret identities as lifeguards, law enforcement officers, park rangers, athletic coaches, volunteer firefighters, daycare providers, and security guards.
There are lots of opportunities to thank these heroes, in their day jobs, and the best way may be gift cards or baked goods.
Emergency Medical Technician EMT
Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs provide prehospital emergency medical care including stabilizing patients during emergency transport (via ambulance or chopper). They are trained to perform interventions with the basic technology in an ambulance. EMTs typically work in ambulance crews but can also be found among fire departments and law enforcement units. They are also trained as ambulance drivers.
Showing appreciation for these heroes is trickier since, if you encounter them, you’re probably incapacitated. You may have to do some research, after the fact, to find them to say thank you. They probably work with crews of other heroes, so baked goods are a good idea.
Advanced Emergency Medical Technician AEMT
These heroes can do basic life support, but they also can perform some forms of advanced life support. Part of their training is spent in a hospital doing clinical work. With additional training AEMTs can start intravenous lines and administer some medications in transit, as well as working with advanced equipment generally found in ambulances.
Showing appreciation to AEMTs is likely to be the same as EMTs: baked goods for their crew or maybe even send a meal to the ambulance station. You could also thank them in person so they can see how you have recovered.
Paramedics undergo the most training and can perform the widest range of patient care of all Emergency Medical Services personnel. They do extensive clinical training in a hospital as well as a mentored internship with an ambulance crew. When responding to emergency calls, paramedics have advanced life support skills, including intravenous therapy, intubation, and providing life saving medications.
Since paramedics are bringing their “A” game to saving your life, you should go all out in showing your appreciation. Notes are always appreciated, and it’s likely they will have the most effect over the long term. This might be a case where you would want to make a monetary contribution to organizations that support EMS to say thank you to paramedics.
EMS Discounts to Show Appreciation
A great way for businesses to say “thank you EMS” and to show appreciation is to offer a special EMS or deal. EMS discounts are a way of saying thank you for your service and sacrifice. Many businesses offer first responder discounts year-round, but some businesses only offer them during specific holidays or special observances. If you’re a business owner, consider offering a specific EMS discount or even a special first responder discount. It’s a great way to show your support and give something back to those who serve us.
How Homes for Heroes Says Thank You
Homes for Heroes was created shortly after the events of 9/11 to give back to the heroes who serve and sacrifice for the rest of us, and specifically say thank you EMS members for your service and sacrifice.
$3,000 Average Savings When You Buy, Sell or Refinance
To thank you, our real estate and mortgage specialists can save you an average of $3,000 when you buy, sell or refinance a home or mortgage. These savings are Hero Rewards savings given back as Homes for Heroes’ way to say Thank You for Your Service.
We take pride in the service our local specialists provide our EMS heroes. Our specialists know your local community, understand how to navigate the housing and mortgage trends happening within it, and how to maximize the savings you can receive. They joined Homes for Heroes specifically to serve heroes like you and to thank you by saving you an average of $3,000 when you close on a home or mortgage.
If you’re ready to begin the process of buying and/or selling a home. Or, if you’re in a place to refinance your mortgage, simply register online to speak with our local specialists to get your questions answered. There’s no obligation. We would be honored to assist you with your next home and/or mortgage.
Homes for Heroes Foundation Grants to Emergency Medical Organizations
To expand its Circle of Giving, Homes for Heroes, Inc., donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. So, every time a hero like you buys or sells a home using the Homes for Heroes program, you are helping heroes in need.
The Homes for Heroes Foundation was able to award a $10,000 Hero Grant to Ezras Nashim to support their mission and help cover costs of their EMT training. Ezras Nashim provides emergency medical care for the Orthodox Jewish community, with a crew of women EMTs, so that women can focus on their health without worrying about their modesty or dignity.
“The local volunteer ambulance services that exist throughout the Orthodox Jewish communities in the nation only accept men as responders. Many women who are treated by the well-intentioned male EMS service during vulnerable emergencies, such as emergency birth or falling in the shower, experienced embarrassment and lingering trauma.
Many women actually delayed calling for help or didn’t even call for help because they were so nervous about being exposed and embarrassed. All of this could have been avoided had a female EMT been dispatched. Given that the demand was quite clear and many women came forward expressing their discomfort we decided to move forward in a positive manner to meet the needs of our community. And in 2014, Ezras Nashim was born.” – Leah Levine, Chief Operating Officer for Ezras Nashim
Grants from the Homes for Heroes Foundation are made possible by the Homes for Heroes Circle of Giving and its network of real estate professionals who are committed to providing savings on home and mortgage buy, sell and refinance transactions for firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, military (active, reserves and veterans), healthcare professionals and teachers.
Homes for Heroes employees and local specialists appreciate you and our country’s EMS professionals for all you do to serve and assist others. Thank you for your service.