May 19 begins a week of national awareness of the remarkable skills of our country's men and women who are often the first on scene to assist the injured or sick.

National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week is May 19-25. This year's week of recognition is the country's 45th, having been established in 1974. These brave and determined workers include our paramedic and ambulance service personnel. It is estimated there are more than 800,000 certified (part-time, full-time and volunteer)  EMS personnel in the United States, according to data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

These professionals carry out a number of vital, life-saving duties while on the clock, including knowing how to properly immobilize and transport victims, identifying trauma, performing CPR, treating poisonings and aiding those with illnesses.

We hope we never require their services, but just knowing we have access to properly trained medical staff who can arrive at your door step or on the site of an accident in a matter of minutes, is an extremely valuable resource.

This week we should give our heartfelt thanks to these heroes.