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Give thanks to EMTs for their dedication to a dangerous profession
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FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo died when a madman drove her ambulance and struck her in the Bronx in March. (FACEBOOK)

The tragic death in March of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo — mowed down by a crazed man who jumped into her ambulance — highlighted the dangers that first responders face daily.

This is National EMS Week, a time when we recognize the important work that Emergency Medical Service members like Yadira do in our communities.

They are there 24/7, whenever you need them, despite the risks.

Being a first responder is a dangerous job. EMS providers are three times more likely to be injured in the line of duty than the average U.S. worker.

Tears and hugs as first responders reunite with those they saved

Most pre-hospital provider injuries are sprains from the physical effort of moving patients and attending to motor vehicle accidents.

But Department of Labor data from 2003 to 2007 show a notable number of injuries and fatalities occur as a result of assault.

The attack on Yadira, a Bronx mom of five boys, is just one example of a growing trend of violence against EMS professionals across the country who put their lives on the line every time they respond to a 911 call.

To fully understand a paramedic's on the job anxiety, all you have to do is read the news.

City EMS praise MTA cop for stopping EMT Yadira Arroyo's killer

Dallas Fire-Rescue Department paramedic William An was shot earlier this month while treating a victim’s gun wound.

Last October, two Boston first responders were shot while responding to a mentally ill patient waving a knife. That same month, an Illinois paramedic was attacked while trying to help a drunken patient.

In October 2015, a patient slashed a Detroit first responder's face with a box cutter.

While some violence toward paramedics and EMT stems from medical issues affecting the behavior of patients (like seizures, low blood sugar, and psychiatric issues), we cannot ignore that more sinister factors are also at play.

'EMS Tin House' coin will aid family of EMT Yadira Arroyo

There is no single solution to help prevent violence on EMS providers, because as part of their job they must put themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

Medical directors of EMS systems, such as those of us in the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), are creating evidence-based protocols to provide our techs and paramedics with the best medical options and de-escalating techniques for the patients they are trying to help.

All individuals, as members of the very communities that EMTS and paramedics serve, can help. Respect and trust EMS workers.

Trust that the paramedic who puts in your IV, who asks about your medical history, who bandages your wound, is doing the best he or she can do to help you. The vast majority of EMTS and paramedics are underpaid and overworked. They rarely receive gratitude and are often professionally scorned. And, yet, they continue to support and treat your community — and not just because it's their job. Being an EMS provider is a calling.

The next time you see your local paramedic, shake his or her hand. A simple thank you is never unappreciated.

So, as we celebrate National EMS Week, let us say thank you, Yadira Arroyo, for your dedication and service to your community. Our thoughts and prayers remain with those you left behind. #EMSStrong

Catherine R. Counts, MHA, Jeremiah Escajeda MD, MPH and Hawnwan Moy, MD are members of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), an organization of physicians and other professionals partnering to provide leadership and foster excellence in the subspecialty of EMS medicine.

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