ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — All across the country first responders are being honored as part of Emergency Medical Service(EMS) week. A chance to shine a light on those who save lives every day and the profession as a whole.

In 1974, President Gerald Ford decided to dedicate a week to honor EMS workers.

“It’s a calling you know people love to do it. And the reward of helping the others out in the field and making a difference is what makes us do what we do,” said John Bergeron the Deputy Fire Chief for Harlem-Roscoe Fire Protection District.

Bergeron has been an EMS member for more than 4 decades. He became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1984 and a paramedic in 1988.

Bergeron says that around 80% of the more than 3,800 calls last year were medically based. Rockford Fire Department says they get closer to 28,000 calls every year.

“Probably most departments, most of our calls now are EMS related, not the fire-related calls, anything from heart attacks to strokes to whatever else may come in. We’re the first line of defense to begin treatment in the field, to start the interventions, and then transported to a local hospital,” Bergeron said. “Every call that comes in. You know, we’re always thinking in route what it could be. What it came in is not all calls that we get are exactly what we’re going to. So we form a treatment plan in our head prior to even arriving on the scene. If it is our chest pain or if it’s a trouble, what we’re going to do in our minds until we get and actually see the patient and then we formulate a treat, a plan treatment plan, once we arrive at the bedside,”

All firefighters at Harlem-Roscoe are required to be CPR certified like many other local departments. Rockford has seven fully staffed paramedic ambulances located throughout the city.

“EMS has come a long way in the years. We are equipped now with the medicines that we’ve never had before, the equipment we’ve never had before in the treatments we’re allowed to do on the field has come to a vast difference from back in the days,” said Bergeron.

Each day of the week represents a unique mission in helping honor these workers.

  • Sunday – Health, Wellness, and Resilience Day: A chance to recognize and care for the health of EMS clinicians.
  • Monday – EMS Education Day: Giving the community an opportunity to plan for emergencies and learn skills to help in times of trouble.
  • Tuesday – Safety Tuesday: focusing on risk and injury prevention.
  • Wednesday – EMS for Children Day: Raising awareness for specialized care for children.
  • Thursday – Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed): A day for the general public to gain skills like CPR for emergency situations.
  • Friday – EMS Recognition Day: Recognizing EMS heroes and those who risk their lives to save others.