In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities.
A lot has changed since then. The days of loading the patient into the back of the local hearse and driving as fast as possible to the nearest hospital have passed. EMS is now firmly established as a vital component of the medical care process. On any given day, EMS practitioners help save lives by responding to medical emergencies which include everything from a heart attack to a motor vehicle crash, from difficulty breathing to a stroke, from drug overdose to a horse wreck and everything in between. EMTs may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital. When people are having their worst moments, EMTs are there caring for their needs.
Idaho County is fortunate to have EMTs serving throughout the county, with ambulances in Grangeville, Cottonwood, Riggins, Elk City and Kooskia. Quick Response Units (QRU) are available in White Bird, Lowell, Powell, Clearwater, Tahoe and Glenwood/Caribel. These dedicated individuals have made the effort to take the required training and make themselves available to serve their communities whenever the need arises.
The hectic pressures of modern life have taken a toll on volunteerism throughout the country. Many EMS units across the nation (and in Idaho County) are hanging on by a thread, with volunteers finding it hard to juggle a paying career, a family and a volunteer career.
With that in mind, at a recent meeting of the Grangeville EMT Association (GEMTA), five members were given awards for significant milestones in their EMS careers. These members are Brian Adams and Zachary Peterson, five years; Lynda Fox, 10 years; Rachel Beeson, 15 years; and Kim Spencer, 20 years. Give them your congratulations and thanks when you see them around town!