News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Shines Spotlight on South Carolina’s Dedicated EMS Personnel during National EMS Week

May 23, 2023 

COLUMBIA, S.C. ― The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is proud to spotlight the state’s emergency medical services (EMS) professionals during National EMS Week. Every day, EMS professionals help save lives and safeguard the health, safety and well-being of their communities. 

Across the state, 262 EMS agencies and more than 13,000 emergency personnel ― including first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics – stay at the ready to provide critical care to patients when needed and to respond to severe weather or other disasters. 

“EMS personnel are the first line in South Carolina’s medical system,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “As medical professionals, they provide a vital service that saves countless lives every year. We are indebted for their selfless service, and for being trusted and respected leaders within their communities.” 

The South Carolina Division of EMS and Trauma, which is within DHEC’s Bureau of Healthcare Systems and Services, helps develop and monitor statewide EMS protocols, designates trauma centers, and certifies EMTs and paramedics. DHEC works closely with the South Carolina EMS Association and local government agencies that manage their county- or city-wide EMS services.   

An EMS system involves a highly coordinated response for emergency medical care that relies on teamwork and communication between multiple people and agencies. 

“Supporting and regulating this community is essential to promoting a healthy state,” said Eric McFarland, director of DHEC’s Bureau of Healthcare Systems and Services. “EMS’ ability to provide immediate, potentially lifesaving care plays a critical role in positive patient outcomes and healthy communities.” 

In 1974, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in the nation's communities. During National EMS Week, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians recommends that community organizations, schools and individuals interested in showing appreciation for paramedics and EMTs write them thank-you notes or make donations.  

“As a former EMT myself, I want to recognize the importance of South Carolina’s EMS personnel and all they do to care for their communities,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “It’s a demanding job, and I’d like to say thank you to these men and women for all they do to care for people, respond to emergencies and protect overall public health.”  

Anyone interested in pursuing a career as an EMT or paramedic is encouraged to contact their local EMS office to learn more. Additional information is available at and 



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