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Notice to Readers: National Emergency Medical Services Week --- May 17--23, 2009

May 17--23 is National Emergency Medical Services Week, dedicated to bringing together local communities and medical personnel to promote safety and emphasize the services of emergency medical responders, such as paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and dispatchers. Emergency medical service (EMS) providers quickly assess and initiate treatment of patients with potentially life-threatening complications (1). Their services are particularly important for persons experiencing a heart attack or stroke. Approximately half of all heart attack and stroke patients arrive at the hospital by ambulance; others either drive themselves to the hospital or are driven by family and friends, delaying life-saving diagnosis and treatment that trained EMS personnel could provide (2,3). Immediate emergency transportation to a hospital and receipt of timely urgent care can reduce death and disability. Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke and immediately calling 9-1-1 are critical to receiving rapid treatment by EMS.

More information about National Emergency Medical Services Week is available at Information about heart disease and stroke is available from CDC at and from the American Heart Association at


  1. Hankins DG, Luke A. Emergency medical service aspects of emergency cardiac care. Emerg Med Clin N Am 2005;23:1219--31.
  2. Lloyd-Jones D, Adams R, Carnethon M, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics---2009 update: a report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Circulation 2009;119:e21--181.
  3. McGinn AP, Rosamond WD, Goff DC Jr, Taylor HA, Miles JS, Chambless L. Trends in prehospital delay time and use of emergency medical services for acute myocardial infarction: experience in 4 US communities from 1987--2000. Am Heart J 2005;150:392--400.

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Date last reviewed: 5/14/2009


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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