News Releases

May 13, 2016

Vermont Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Emergency Medical Services

EMS Week is May 15 - 21, 2016

When Dorothy and George Cook became active Emergency Medical Service providers, the EMS system that Vermonters now routinely depend on had only been developed less than 10 years earlier. Now, more than 40 years later, the two founding members of the Morristown EMS - who still volunteer for night shifts - will be honored by their peers with the first-ever Vermont Emergency Medical Services Lifetime Award.

The Cooks will be among a number of other awardees and EMS providers at a public celebration on May 17 at the State House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emergency Medical Services in the United States. Governor Peter Shumlin has proclaimed May 15-21, 2016 as Emergency Medical Services Week to highlight the vital mission and dedication of the state's EMS volunteers and professionals.

"EMS Week is an opportunity for all of us to show our deep appreciation to the thousands of EMS providers who serve every corner of our state," said Health Commissioner Harry Chen. "It is also a chance to showcase their often life-saving work, and to encourage more Vermonters to volunteer in their communities, and consider careers as first responders and EMS professionals."

The State House event runs from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., and will offer fun and educational activities for all ages. In addition to displays of vintage equipment, there will be search and rescue dog demonstrations, technical/rope rescue presentations, car seat inspections, blood-pressure checks, and even a coloring contest. "Sidewalk CPR" training, which can be mastered in just minutes, will be offered at no cost throughout the day.

The origin of the nation's EMS services dates back to a 1966 report, Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, which identified accidental injuries as the "leading cause of death in the first half of life's span." The report led to a standardized training curriculum and other measures that are widely credited with launching the EMS system we know today. In Vermont, fostering a greater public awareness of what people can do to prevent injuries continues to be a major public health initiative.

Health Commissioner Chen will present awards at noon to EMS agencies and personnel who are being recognized this year for their high level of dedication to the profession and their communities.

2016 Emergency Medical Services Awardees

* Vermont EMS Lifetime Award - Dorothy and George Cook

* Advanced Life Support Provider of the Year - Jean-Pierre Gervais, Lyndon Rescue Squad

* Ambulance Service of the Year - South Burlington Fire Department

* Basic Life Support Provider of the Year - Crystalee O'Dell, Pownal Rescue Squad

* EMS for Children Champion of the Year - Jillian McLaughlin, Lyndon Rescue Squad

* EMS Educator of the Year - Kate Soons, EMS District 3

* First Responder Service of the Year - Mount Mansfield Ski Patrol

In case of inclement weather, the celebration will be held on Friday, May 20.

To learn more about becoming an Emergency Medical Services provider, visit OnCall for Vermont:

Media Contact: Vermont Department of Health, 802-863-7281

Source: Department of Health
Last Updated at: May 13, 2016 15:19:36