News Release
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   May 22, 2001

Christine Grant

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg
or Marilyn Riley


Department of Health and Senior Services Presents
Emergency Medical Services Awards
As Part of EMS Week in New Jersey

PRINCETON - As part of Emergency Medical Services Week, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant today praised those whose heroic deeds or ongoing efforts have saved lives and contributed to New Jersey's high-quality emergency medical services system. First Lady Diane DiFrancesco joined Commissioner Grant in presenting awards to the honorees.

Twenty-eight organizations and individuals were recognized, including seven children. Dana Christmas and Jacob Archer, two Seton Hall University students who risked their lives to save others during a dormitory fire, received the Citizen "Star of Life" award for their efforts.

The awards were presented today at the third annual EMS Awards Program and Luncheon sponsored by the Office of Emergency Medical Services of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, in conjunction with the New Jersey Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council.

"Advances in emergency medical care have increased the number of lives saved every year in New Jersey," said acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco in proclaiming May 20 - 26 Emergency Medical Services Week in New Jersey. "New Jersey is a leader in the types and quality of emergency medical care available to patients. We want to continue to improve our EMS system in order to assure all citizens the highest standards of emergency medical care."

"Any one of us could be called on to help save a life. Even a young child can meet the challenge, as we've seen today," Commissioner Grant said. "From citizens on the scene, to trained EMS workers, to behind-the-scenes EMS administrators and educators, it takes all of us to make our emergency medical system work."

Awards, which were given in a wide range of categories, recognize Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, first responders and dispatchers; entire EMS services, including volunteer, privately owned and municipal services; EMS medical directors, administrators and educators; and private citizens who performed a lifesaving act. Also, this is the first year the department gave the "Star of Life" Youth Award to children whose quick thinking and fast action helped save a life.

Each year, more than three million New Jersey residents and visitors require emergency medical care for traumatic injuries, poisonings, heart attacks and other critical medical emergencies. Trained care givers -- from paramedics and EMTs on the scene to physicians and nurses in the hospital - are called on daily to respond to these emergencies.

Basic life support services in New Jersey are provided by an estimated 500 to 600 volunteer ambulance squads and about 200 licensed ambulance services, with paramedics delivering advanced life support operating out of 31 mobile intensive care units statewide. There are more than 22,000 licensed EMTs and 1,351 licensed paramedics in the state.

The role of the department's Office of Emergency Medical Services is to create a comprehensive, coordinated, statewide emergency medical services system that ensures that the highest quality of care is available to all New Jerseyans. The Office oversees the education of all EMS personnel; licenses and monitors non-volunteer basic life support services, advanced life support programs and the vehicles in both programs; oversees the state's trauma system; monitors and coordinates the air medical helicopter program; directs the EMS for Children program; and develops new EMS initiatives.

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List of EMS Award recipients, by category.

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