By Dr. Kathryn Brinsfield, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs & Chief Medical Officer
The Department of Homeland Security is proud to recognize Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week – an opportunity to focus on the important work of our EMS providers and thank them for their service and protection. These individuals, who often put themselves at personal risk to help others, play a critical role in our Nation’s homeland security.
In the DHS Office of Health Affairs (OHA), we continue to do our part in supporting EMS providers. For example, over the past year our Chemical Defense program completed the “Patient Decontamination in a Mass Chemical Exposure Incident” planning guidance for communities. This guidance is intended to support state and local civilian first responders and health care receivers, along with emergency managers, public health practitioners, law enforcement officials, and risk communications experts who are the nation’s first line of defense.
We at DHS work to prepare all first responders for emergencies to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to protect and care for our communities in stressful and challenging circumstances. For our DHS responders, we are continuing our efforts to develop training focused on resilience and peer-support. Each day the men and women of DHS take on difficult tasks in order to keep our Nation safe; we can do our part by offering programs and support to keep their strengthen their resilience.
We believe strongly in the balance of work and family life, and encourage all responders to do the same. Take time to spend with families and friends – these moments are important to overall well-being.
To all EMS providers, please take care of yourself so that you can continue to take care of others. You serve an important role in your communities and we thank you for that!