Celebrating our first responders
Indiana recently celebrated its 40th year of having an organized Emergency Medical Services (EMS) during National EMS Week. The week was dedicated to celebrating and honoring those who serve as emergency medical services personnel all across the U.S. This year’s EMS Week theme was “EMS: Dedicated. For Life,” in an effort to recognize the countless number of lives that have been saved by the dedication of EMS personnel. Although National EMS Week is only celebrated once a year, I think the service of these heroes deserves recognition all year round.
In 1974, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill that created the EMS Commission. Forty years later, Indiana is home to 24,000 EMS personnel, over 100 EMS training institution and over 700 EMS providers. Indiana is continually striving to improve its emergency medical services as technology advances in order to provide Hoosiers with the highest quality emergency medical care.
EMS Week brings together local communities and those medical personnel who are on the front line of medical emergencies. These folks include emergency medical technicians, paramedics, dispatchers, first responders, emergency physicians, emergency nurses, firefighters, educators and administrators. These first responders have endured countless hours of specialized training to save lives.
Indiana’s EMS personnel deserve recognition for their hard work, dedication, tireless hours and, most importantly, the lives they have saved. These teams are available in every community across the state 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to medical emergencies and disasters.
In an effort to promote the importance of careers in public safety, the Indiana Homeland Security Foundation recently established the Secure Indiana Scholarship Program. The scholarship is available to those who are pursuing a degree in higher education and who have also volunteered their time with a public safety organization such as a fire, law enforcement, emergency management or EMS. The scholarship is funded by the revenue from the “Secure Indiana” license plates.
The deadline for this scholarship application is July 1, 2014 and there are nine potential scholarships to be awarded to undergraduate students who are attending an Indiana college or university. Students who are taking 12 credit hours or more are eligible for a $2,000 scholarship and part-time students who are taking at least six credit hours are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship. In order to be considered, students must have a grade point average of 2.8 or higher in addition to their public safety volunteer work.
I encourage those who are eligible to visit www.in.gov/dhs/foundationscholarship for more information on this opportunity. I thank those, both volunteers and full time workers, who give their time and service to make sure our communities are safe in emergency situations and safe innumerable lives while doing it.