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National Emergency Medical Services Week starts May 18

Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 9:32 p.m. CDT

COAL CITY – National Emergency Medical Services Week brings together local communities and medical personnel to publicize safety and honor the dedication of those who provide the day-to-day life saving of emergency medicine’s “front line.”

Observances run May 18 through May 24, according to a news release from the Coal City Fire Protection District. This year’s theme is “EMS: Dedicated for Life,” and according to Coal City Fire Chief James Sheldon, it’s all about celebrating EMS providers – first responders, hospitals, emergency physicians and public health providers and engaging the whole community in reducing risk and saving lives.

“Our areas EMS providers do an incredible job, often risking their own lives to save others. But they can’t do it all alone. EMS Week offers an opportunity to celebrate this nation’s first responders, while sounding a call for all to help them help others,” Sheldon said in the release. “Planning for disasters means that we must plan for the whole community, including people of different ages and those with access and functional needs. It means planning for children, planning for the elderly and planning for families without access to personal transportation. It means meeting our first responders more than half way when the chips are down.”

Tips to help be better prepared for emergencies, and enhance access to help during disasters include:

• Make sure your house number is visible from the street. Make it easier for police, fire officials or emergency medical personnel to find your house. Put large house numbers in a highly visible area. Make sure the numbers are well-lit and can be seen at night.

• Build a “72 hour Disaster Kit.” Make a disaster plan, and keep a well-stocked first aid kit.

• Make a list of emergency phone numbers and display them near all telephones in the house.

• Keep a clear and up-to-date record of immunizations. This can help doctors do a better job of diagnosing problems in an emergency.

• Write down medical conditions, medications and dosages. Being prepared in advance helps assure proper treatment and prevent drug interactions.

• Make a list of allergies and reactions, and consider medical identification bracelets or tags.

• Take first-aid classes. A basic class will teach CPR and proper ways to treat burns, wrap sprains, apply splints, and perform the Heimlich maneuver.

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