We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this special public service announcement! This is National EMS Week – no, not First Responders Week, or Public Servant Hero week – EMS. Emergency Medical Services – the invisible arm of the first-responder-triad.
I don’t want to go all soap-boxy on you, but my Marine is a paramedic so this hits close to home. Seeing his life first-hand has really opened my eyes to what a short end of the stick this profession gets. Police and Fire are hailed as heroes, glorified, and respected (as they should be – don’t get me wrong on that point!). Kids want to be them when they grow up. Hell, I wanted to be a firefighter all through elementary school! Medics and EMTs? Well, they’re just ambulance drivers, right?
Tip: don’t ever, ever call a medic an ambulance driver. Even though countless man-hours (and formerly healthy backs) are wasted on BS 911 calls and the lowest forms of humanity treating them like a taxi service (sometimes literally – as in “I need to get to the other side of town and don’t have cash for a taxi… Ouch, my side hurts!”). Even though they barely make minimum wage. The incredible amount of medical knowledge stockpiled in his brain blows me away. The fact that someone who, when the system works as it should, literally holds life or death in his hands, often while running on 24 hours with no sleep, and only rates about $10 an hour… well, I should stop ranting while the day is young.
The point is, if you are lucky enough to know a paramedic, EMT, or other emergency medicine professional, give them an extra dose of love and respect this week. And if you don’t, please yield to the side of the road when you see them coming and save your 911 calls for honest emergencies.