The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) was instrumental in establishing EMS Week when President Gerald Ford declared November 3 – 10, 1974 as the first “National Emergency Medical Services Week.” This annual observance continued for four more years and was then reinstituted by ACEP in 1982. Around this time the observance of EMS Week was moved to September. In 1992 EMS Week was again moved to be the 3rd week in May. The move was made to separate EMS Week from Fire Prevention week in October. The rationale for the move was the majority of fire and EMS services felt having the two events back to back hurt the effectiveness of each program so EMS Week was moved to May.
ACEP began collecting and distributing ideas and information for EMS Week in the early 1980’s. Professionally printed and prepared EMS Week Planning kits were developed starting in the late 1980’s. Today 25,000 EMS Week Planning Guides are distributed free of charge to EMS services, fire departments, rescue squads, volunteer groups, and emergency departments across the country. The 48 page guide contains ideas for local EMS Week activities and highlights EMS Week programs held by EMS services during the previous year.