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Senator Blumenthal Honors West Hartford Emergency Responders

Sen. Richard Blumenthal with the town manager, police and fire chiefs, and staff of the West Hartford Emergency Response Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

May 19-25, 2019 is National EMS Week, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal spent some time Monday morning visiting with the West Hartford Police and Fire departments.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (left) is greeted by (from left) Police Chief Vernon Riddick, Fire Chief Greg Priest, and Town Manager Matt Hart in the lobby of police headquarters. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Sen. Richard Blumenthal marked the start of the 45th annual National EMS Week with a visit to West Hartford Police headquarters on Raymond Road, where he met with members of the police and fire departments, staff in the Emergency Response Center, and Town Manager Matt Hart.

“I wanted to come by really to say thank you,” Blumenthal said as he addressed spoke to the employees in the Emergency Response Center, a vital link for the community who respond to 911 and routine calls made to West Hartford’s police and fire departments. “All of America, all of Connecticut, we take what you do for granted,” until we need something.

Blumenthal said he can’t even imagine the types of calls received, from people who are in danger, who are angry or upset.

The senator took questions from the group, and Dispatcher Todd Hungerford asked him to support a bill, which is now before the house, classifying staff in the Emergency Response Center as first responders, rather than as clerical employees. Blumenthal agreed, and said, “You should be treated as full-fledged fire and law enforcement.”

Meeting with people who are involved in public service is a great way to be reminded of how much they are giving back. “We shouldn’t need a week or a day to say thank you,” he said.

“I want you to know how deeply grateful I am for all of Connecticut’s first responders … the police and fire [professionals] who keep people healthy and are there when threat or danger is highest,” said Blumenthal. He pledged to continue to fight for funding for additional and updated equipment, which is a “force multiplier.”

Town Manager Matt Hart thanked Blumenthal for visiting West Hartford. “This is a challenging time to be in public service,” he said.

National EMS Week has been celebrated since 1974, when it was authorized by President Gerald Ford to draw attention to the critical work that EMS practitioners do throughout the country. Activities are led by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) lead annual EMS Week activities.

Themes for this year’s EMS Week are:

  • Monday – EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday – Safety Tuesday
  • Wednesday – EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday – Stop the Bleed Day
  • Friday – EMS Recognition Day

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal speaks with dispatchers in the Emergency Response Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (left) speaks with Town Manager Matt Hart in the West Hartford Police Department Training Room. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Fire Chief Greg Priest, Police Chief Vernon Riddick, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Town Manager Matt Hart. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Sen. Richard Blumenthal greets members of the West Hartford Fire Department Monday. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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