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DHS Office of Health Affairs Offers Thanks to EMS Workers During National EMS Week

May 21, 2009

Dear EMS Provider:

This week we recognize the day-to-day efforts of
EMS providers across the nation who unselfishly serve their communities as EMTs and paramedics. EMS Week (May 17-23) offers me the chance to extend praise and appreciation to the thousands of DHS employees who deliver emergency medical care to people in need — from remote deserts to ships at sea.

From our Coast Guard paramedics, rescue swimmers and border patrol medics to the
EMS providers on the nation's streets, the foundation begins with your personal commitment. The work you perform is paramount to a coordinated response in the event of a disaster or catastrophic event — whether man-made, natural or as a result of a terrorist event.

You embody the fact that preparedness is local. It is your boots on the ground. In this country, we call 911 in emergencies. When 911 is called, the phone doesn't ring on my desk here in
Washington — it rings in your hometown. We depend on you and your response, and you can only do that if your families are cared for. The time to make sure you and your loved ones are prepared is now, not during an event.

The theme for EMS Week this year is “
EMS: A Proud Partner in Your Community.” That is quite appropriate in light of the recent challenges faced by the EMS community during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak. Let me say a special thanks for your work in the face of uncertainty. You demonstrate that local and national partnerships result in an effective and collaborative response to a potential pandemic. I applaud you for continuing to answer the call of your fellow citizens when they are in need.

Here at the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA), we are working with our federal partners to increase support for the
EMS community nationwide. Inside DHS, we are working to provide consistent oversight and standardized education, credentialing and protocols for our EMTs and paramedics. My hope is that OHA’s efforts result in increased EMS funding, additional EMS preparedness opportunities and enhanced support for integrating EMS organizations into preparedness activities.

It goes without saying that you have a respected position in your communities. Please know that everything you do to prepare your family and neighbors helps prepare our nation. Emphasize the preparedness message to “get a kit, make a plan and be informed” to as many friends, family and neighbors as possible in your hometown.

The sacrifices that you make do not go unnoticed. During EMS Week 2009, please accept my warmest thanks for your tireless dedication in helping to protect and preserve our nation's safety and health.


Jon R. Krohmer, M.D.

(Acting) Assistant Secretary for

Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer