Mission and Vision
We envision a future in which Emergency Medical Services are legally defined as "essential" by every state in America.
Through this vision, it is our mission to ensure that every American has equal access to quality pre-hospital care when they need it, and that every EMS professional has access to the wages and long-term benefits they need to build a viable career as a healthcare professional and first responder within this field, not outside of it.
How "Make EMS Essential" Formed
In December 2019, the world changed forever as the most catastrophic global pandemic in over a century began spreading throughout the world. By March 2020, the members of the IAEP Local 20 were on the frontlines within one of the first U.S. epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York.
While our neighbors "locked down," we went into the belly of the beast, serving our communities on the frontlines with limited access to PPE and little working knowledge of the virus and its effect on the human body.
The work was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but we knew that our skills and knowledge were needed to save our neighbors' lives. We answered the call. We were essential.
Shortly thereafter, we became aware of the fact that-- unlike our colleagues in the Fire and Police Departments-- we were not legally classified as "essential" in our state (New York). The pandemic laid bare our society's indispensable need for quality pre-hospital care, so we realized we could not sit idly by until our laws recognized us as such, too.
"Make EMS Essential" formed in 2021 as a grassroots effort by IAEP Local 20 members to lobby for legal essential status, as well as the necessary changes within the field of EMS to improve working conditions for the people who risk their lives every day for the benefit of their neighbors.
We are a grassroots effort backed by the labor movement. The work of "Make EMS Essential" is supported and sponsored by the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics, a subsidiary of the National Association of Government Employees.
Our goals are simple...
We want to:
1. Make EMS Essential in all 50 States
2. Ensure that livable wages and long-term benefits for EMS professionals are earmarked as a priority in any funding that arises from "essential" status
We understand and recognize that there are other necessary changes that will eventually be required to ensure the field reaches its full potential, such as improving EMS training/education, increasing access to mental health care, expanding community paramedicine into more communities, reimagining the EMS Scope of Practice, etc.
However, we also know that every state, region, and municipality has its own unique challenges and needs. Therefore, we see Making EMS Essential as the most logical and important first goal post from which all other necessary changes can arise.
We encourage each of our local chapters to envision what additional goals make sense for them within their regions.
Our Leadership Team
Phil is the National Director of the International Association of EMTs and Paramedics (IAEP).
Alanna is a paramedic and the President of IAEP Local 20 in Yonkers, New York.
Lexi is a communications specialist for the IAEP.