Health department honors first responders as 'true heroes'
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is honoring the state’s paramedics, police, firefighters and other first responders for their commitments to Illinois’ communities during National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, which ends on Saturday.
According to the IDPH, Illinois has 7,894 licensed first-responder defibrillators, 36,842 emergency medical technicians, 4,959 emergency communications registered nurses, 2,702 trauma nurse specialists, 409 pre-hospital registered nurses and 2,892 emergency medical dispatchers. Approximately two-thirds of them serve as volunteers, the agency said.
“The men and women being honored during National EMS Week are true heroes who have acted selflessly to help people in need during emergency situations,” IDPH Director Nirav Shah said in a statement. “Thousands of emergency workers in Illinois put their lives on the line every day, while others are simply citizens who have acted with courage to help others avoid serious injury or even death. This week, the Illinois Department of Public Health honors these heroes and would like to say thank you for their courage, time, and dedication.”
The IDPH highlighted Todd Zobrist of the Highland Ambulance Service, who won this year’s EMS Hero Award after jumping into near-freezing water in March to rescue an infant from a car and saved the child's life by performing CPR on the top of the vehicle.