By Aila Boyd

The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution at its April meeting, declaring the week of May 19-25 “Emergency Medical Services Week.”

Jason Ferguson, chief of fire and EMS for Botetourt County, spoke at the meeting. He was accompanied by fire and EMS (emergency medical services) staff.

“Each year we take a moment of pause during the third week of May to recognize specifically ‘Emergency Medical Services Week.’ This week was established by the American College of Emergency Physicians as a manner of recognizing all the efforts in the pre-hospital care arena,” Ferguson said. “This year’s theme is ‘EMS strong beyond the call.’ That speaks volumes to what each and every one of these folks in one way or another puts into providing patient care and emergency medical services because there’s a lot more to it than just providing care on a call.”

Ferguson stressed that the job of EMS workers doesn’t just involve responding to calls, noting the training and practice and the upkeep of the equipment that they all have to engage in. Additionally, he cited the stresses that they have to contend with both on and off the job as taking a toll on them. He said that many of the stresses are things that the general public doesn’t have to face on a day-to-day basis.

The proclamation refers to EMS as being a “vital public service.” The EMS system consists of first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers, fire-fighters, sheriff’s deputies, educators, administrators, pre-hospital nurses, emergency nurses, emergency physicians, trained members of the public, and other out of hospital medical care providers.

“I want to thank all of those in the emergency medical services field for what they are doing,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Billy Martin said. “It’s dedication and commitment from every one of you.”

“The members of emergency medical services teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week,” the proclamation reads in part. “Emergency medical services has grown to fill a gap by providing important, out of hospital care, including preventative medicine, follow-up care, and access to telemedicine.”

Ray Sloan, who represent the Buchanan District on the Board of Supervisors said, “I’m very proud to be your chaplain,” before making a motion to approve the resolution. In addition to serving on the Board of Supervisors, Sloan is the chaplain of the Botetourt County Department of Fire and EMS.

“The members of emergency medical services teams, whether career or volunteer, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills,” the proclamation reads.

Before the meeting, Engine 5, the Eagle Rock Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s newest firetruck, was on display.

Martin described it as being a “beautiful truck,” adding that it makes a good addition to the fleet that the Department of Fire and EMS currently has.