As EMS Week is set to begin across the nation, County Executive George Latimer is saluting all paramedics and emergency medical technicians for the extraordinary work they have done during the Covid-19 crisis.

“The people of Westchester are enormously grateful to our EMS providers for the courage and commitment they have demonstrated throughout this pandemic.  On a daily basis, our EMS personnel -- from commercial and career agencies to members of our Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ -- have put themselves at great risk to provide care to our citizens.”

Latimer said EMS personnel have responded to numerous calls for service that involved persons who were suffering from the Covid-19 virus. In addition, every response in recent months carried with it the potential for exposure to the coronavirus.

“These EMS heroes have truly been at the forefront of our response to this pandemic. They have our admiration, appreciation and respect for the difficult and dangerous work they have been doing for months,” he said.

Commissioner John M. Cullen of the Department of Emergency Services said the challenges facing the EMS community have never been greater.

“Before this pandemic, our EMS personnel were already operating in highly stressed and physically demanding environments. Then they were required to perform above and beyond their duties, caring for critical Covid-19 patients while delivering treatment in full Personal Protective Equipment. After each call they spent precious time decontaminating themselves and their equipment in order to prepare for the inevitable next Covid-19 patient requiring their treatment and transport. They regularly put their own health and safety secondary to patient care,” he said.

Latimer and Cullen also recognized the important service provided to the EMS community by the dispatchers at the County’s Emergency Communications Center, also known as 60 Control. The ECC provides dispatch services to the majority of EMS agencies in the County and coordinates all requests for EMS-related mutual aid.

“The 60 Control Emergency Communication Operators are obtaining and conveying pertinent patient information and pre-arrival instructions to responding Emergency Medical Service units. This ensures our EMS responders will don the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment prior to contact and care for a suspected Covid-19 patient,” Cullen said.

EMS Week, which begins Sunday, was established in 1974 to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities.

Latimer noted that many businesses and residents all around Westchester have been paying tribute to EMS workers in multiple ways, including providing meals, posting signs of support, making donations and helping provide sanitizers, PPE and other critical supplies to their local agency.

“EMS Week is the perfect opportunity for all of us to continue to say thank you to the EMS workers in our communities,” he said.