Honoring Heroes Who Help Save Lives

Annual EMS Hero Awards

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is celebrating National EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Week, May 21-27, 2017, and EMS Children’s Day, May 24, 2017, by recognizing the important contributions and dedication of paramedics, police, firefighters, and other first responders who provide day-to-day lifesaving services. 
“The men and women being honored during National EMS Week are true heroes who have acted selflessly to help people in need during emergency situations,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. J.D.  “Thousands of emergency workers in Illinois put their lives on the line every day, while others are simply citizens who have acted with courage to help others avoid serious injury or even death.  This week, the Illinois Department of Public Health honors these heroes and would like to say thank you for their courage, time, and dedication.”
The recipient of this year’s EMS Hero Award is Todd Zobrist of Pocahontas, Illinois.
On the morning of March 16, 2017, Todd Zobrist and members of the Highland Ambulance Service responded to a call of a car being driven into a lake.  On their arrival, they found the vehicle submerged with only 12 to 15 inches of the car above water.  Zobrist jumped in the 40 degree water and was able to pull an infant from the submerged car to on top of the vehicle where he began CPR.  Zobrist’s immediate and courageous actions have been attributed to saving this infant’s life.
This year’s national theme, “EMS STRONG: ALWAYS IN SERVICE” underscores the immediate nature of the situations to which EMS personnel must respond and their strength to do so.
In Illinois, there are 63 EMS resource hospitals, 67 trauma centers, 7,894 individuals licensed as first-responder defibrillators, 36,842 emergency medical technicians (EMTs – 20,469 basic, 605 intermediate, 15,768 paramedic), 4,959 emergency communications registered nurses, 2,702 trauma nurse specialists, 409 pre-hospital registered nurses, and 2,892 emergency medical dispatchers providing 24-hour service to the people of Illinois.  Approximately two-thirds of all EMS providers are volunteers.