What an amazing thing to do for the families of those who have lost loved ones whilst they were performing their duties. I dont know if there is a similar thing for Paramedics and EMTs who are not part of fire departments or if this is just a fire service thing, but either way….Wow!
I have also been speaking to a few of my blogger friends about various ceremonies that they do, one of which is the Wake County Cardiac Arrest Save Ceremony. This is an annual event which follows the following agenda :
The program goes like this:
An outside reception with snacks and light sodas.
An opening ceremony involving presentation of the flags by fire/EMS honor guard personnel, accompanied by our Public Safety Pipes and Drums.
The National Anthem
A blessing by the chaplain
Opening remarks by the Chief of EMS, the medical director, and the fire chief
A speech thanking the medics by one of the elected officials (the Mayor or the Chair of the County Commission)
A keynote speech, by a survivor or a member of a survivor’s family, usually accompanied by a slide show.
Those who have participated in saves are called to the stage by individual save, announced by date, patient age and gender (no names). They shake hands and get presented with their “save pin” which are a bar worn on the dress uniform. After the first one, they have numbers to indicate subsequent awards.
The more I get to know my American friends and colleagues (dare I say, brothers, or is that too American as well?), I realise more and more that there is so much more that we can do in the UK to value the service that we provide to our communities. I know there are many ambulance staff who will think this is all just ‘American Patriotism’ and Fire Fighter worship, but wouldnt it be amazing to be part of a ceremony like the ones described above.
The closest we have over in the UK is this: http://www.freewebs.com/national-ambulance-memorial/, which pales into significance. This isnt meant to berate what the guys at the National Ambulance Memorial have done, as without them, there would be absolutely nothing! But what it does show, is that there needs to be some real committment and money put in to getting things like this up and running.
I know that we will never have the same sort of ceremonies as our American brothers and sisters, but we should really strive for more!
I and my steadfast friend Fi, have already started work on something that we will be taking to the ‘powers that be’ sometime in the next few months. Lets see how that works out!