A Salute to EMS — Our Heroes Since 1973

A Salute to EMS — Our Heroes Since 1973

March 26, 2021

It could be a car accident, a fire or a heart attack.

The EMS crew never hesitates. They grab their gear and race to the scene. They stay calm — at least outwardly. They do whatever the situation demands.

At Fire Department Coffee, we take every opportunity we can to show our gratitude and appreciation for the rapid response of these dedicated crews. It’s why we recently unveiled our new Meat Wagon T-shirt and sticker as a tribute. “Meat Wagon,” of course, is a creative way of referring to the ambulance. The sticker and shirt design features a throwback to the old school ambulances that looked more like station wagons. It’s a 1970s thing.

1970s EMTs taking a person out of the ambulance

Because Emergency Medical Services professionals are always there when we need them, it’s easy to assume that it’s always been that way throughout history. But the truth is that EMS is relatively new, with its official origins dating only to the second half of the 20th century.

The Journal of Emergency Medical Services points to a report given to President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 that said accidental injuries were the leading cause of death in the first half of a person’s life span. It said that in 1965 alone, more lives were lost in car accidents than in the entire Korean War.

The report cited the lack of qualified emergency medical care. At that time, a seriously injured person had a better chance of surviving in a combat zone than if they were injured on Main Street USA.

Back door open of a 1970s ambulance showing the interior.

With that report, the wheels were in motion. By 1973, the EMS Systems Act provided funding for 300 EMS programs nationwide. The impact was immediate. Emergency medical technicians were trained. Lives were saved. Our nation is a better, safer place because EMS professionals and volunteers dedicate their lives to treating patients wherever they are, whatever their emergency.

So the next time you see the meat wagon pass by, give those men and women a nod or a thumbs up. Let them know that we are all so grateful for the important job they do. 



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