Communities show appreciation for first responders during National EMS Week

Communities show appreciation for first responders during National EMS Week

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - This week is National EMS Week. It’s a week designated by President Gerald Ford to celebrate EMS practitioners and the work they do in communities around the country.

In Chatham County, Chatham Emergency Services has been on the front line of responding to emergencies since the 1960’s.

The CEO of Chatham Emergency Services says this National EMS Week has been a little different than years past.

“Interest is a little more heightened in the community this year. We’ve certainly seen an outpouring of love and appreciation like we’ve never seen before. The Meals for Medical, and then other people just showing up and bringing food to the stations...it’s been really heartening," said Chuck Kearns.

Kearns added around 30 restaurants have stopped by to offer Chatham Emergency Services staff a bite to eat since the pandemic began.

In addition to that, letters of support from kids also uplift spirits.

Kearns said in terms of supplies needed to keep crews safe, they’ve been lucky.

“We’ve had all the gowns, all the face masks, all the PPE we’ve needed and the workforce has turned out and they’ve been incredibly professional in facing this," said Kearns.

Even with all the precautions taken, Kearns said around three dozen employees have had to self-quarantine at some point over the last two months.

Another thing first responders in coastal Georgia are also keenly aware of is hurricane season, and that’s just eleven days away.

Kearns said the hundreds of CES personnel, paid and volunteer, stand ready.

“It’s just another day at the office for us. We deal with hurricanes every single year. We deal with storms, we deal with the heat. We now deal with the pandemic, and we adapt and we go on.”

Kearns just recently received the designation of Chief EMS Officer from the Center of Public Safety Excellence.

He’s one of 148 Chief EMS Officers worldwide to hold that professional designation.

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