In 1974, President Gerald Ford declared theÂ first â€œNational Emergency Medical Services Weekâ€ as an annual observance to recognize theÂ critical component thatÂ emergency prehospital medicineÂ began to playÂ inÂ the public health safety net. That year was a time of many other significant events.Â Richard Nixon had become the first president to resign inÂ office. The newly formed OPEC consortium successfully constrainedÂ production causing a worldwide oilÂ shortage that skyrocketedÂ theÂ cost of a gallonÂ of gasolineÂ to 55 cents. A national speed limit of 55 MPH was imposed to conserve fuel and save lives. The Sears tower in Chicago was opened as the world’s tallest building. It was also the same year that a 1973 Ward LaFrance P80 replacedÂ the original 1965 Crown FirecoachÂ as “Engine 51” in the popular television show “Emergency!” then in just its third season.
In the 41 years since that timeÂ thereÂ has also been a great deal of change.Â Pneumatic Anti-Shock Garments such as theÂ Medical Anti-Shock Trousers (MAST) have come and gone while Nitrous Oxide had gone away and may beÂ coming back.Â Spinal immobilization is being completely re-examined as long back boards are being sidelined and may soon be joinedÂ by the hard cervical collar. CPR guidelines are being extended as we work patients longer on scene and the A&E series “Nightwatch” has been signed for a second season.
It is all too easy to say that we do not have any impact on what is happening in the world around us, that things are just happening and it is out of our control.Â For those who accept they are powerless, it is true. The future always belongs to those who are willing to shape it. Every fact I quoted above only happened because some individual was inspired to make something happen.Â ThisÂ year you have the unique opportunity to stand up and be counted. You can choose to be a part of the solution and make your community a better, safer place for everyone. It all starts by you just trying something new.Â
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”Â -Â Eleanor Roosevelt