SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — These people don’t think twice about running into danger because they’re always ready to put their lives at risk for someone else. We’re talking about emergency responders, and this week we’re celebrating them as part of EMS Week.

EMS Providers are the first line of care after an accident or medical emergency.

“We’ve been doing this since 1974 — and it’s our time to spoil our crews and show them our appreciation for the resilience and committed dedication to the community and serving,” says Nick Corbishley, public information officer for American Medical Response of Central New York.

EMS Week kicked off on May 15 and runs through May 21. This year’s theme is “Rising To The Challenge,” something Corbishley says is an appropriate title.

“We’ve gone through a lot the last couple of years. A lot of unknowns. But the dedication and resilience our crews have shown is very impressive. So anything we can do to say thank you to our crews,” says Corbishley.

Just like everyone else in health care, AMR is facing staffing challenges — and has been even before the pandemic.

Corbishley added, “EMS has always been in competition with fire departments and police departments and other healthcare jobs. So constantly recruiting has always been a challenge for us.”

EMTS and paramedics are needed the most. That’s why AMR offers programs to recruit and keep staff.

“We actually will sponsor them and pay for their class and their books. We give them our vehicles to drive to class, and we actually give them a pay raise while they’re in the class to offset their desire or need to work in the overtime,” says Corbishley.

There are many life saving skills you’ll learn as an EMS provider, including CPR training.

“We teach ventilations and how to breathe for someone who’s not breathing, and there’s choking relief, and also how to use a defibrillator, and public access defibrillators are everywhere now. So it’s really important to take a class and know how to use them,” says Corbishley.

They’re saving lives and teaching others how to do the same.

If you’re interested in becoming CPR certified reach out to AMR, your local fire department, or ambulance agency.

The American Red Cross or American Heart Association can put you in touch with a CPR instructor and get you into a class.