May is a month of celebrating first responders. The week of the 15 through the 21 is National Police Week as well as National EMS week. Here, we will go into detail about how to honor the first responders who spend their lives protecting and defending American citizens. National Police and EMS Week is a great chance to show your appreciation and support for every first responder, but especially those who are in the police force and in the emergency medical services.

National Police Week

National Police Week, as detailed by the organizers,  "offers honor, remembrance, and peer support, while allowing law enforcement, survivors, and citizens to gather and pay homage to those who gave their lives in the line of duty." There are many events lined up in Washington DC that aim to offer support and a way for survivors to gather together with a common understanding. Here is the schedule as defined by the official website (note that some dates have passed):

  • Annual Blue Mass: Tuesday, May 3
  • Washington Area Law Enforcement Memorial Service: Monday, May 9
  • National Police K-9 Memorial Service: Wednesday, May 11
  • Police Unity Tour Arrival Ceremony: Thursday, May 12
  • Annual Candlelight Vigil: Friday, May 13
  • National Police Survivors Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens: Saturday, May 14
  • Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service: Sunday, May 15

May 15 has been dedicated to memorializing police officers since 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation to make it so. Now, the entire week is devoted to honoring the police force and many officers make the journey to Washington, DC to participate in the festivities. According to, there are between 25,000 to 40,000 attendees each year.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

National EMS Week

May 15-21, 2022, is the 47th annual National EMS Week. It is a time for people to recognize EMS personnel and for those who have lost people to the profession to connect with each other. National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) partners with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) to lead annual EMS Week activities. They have created a theme for every day of the week to enhance awareness and promote safety.

  • Sunday – Health, Wellness and Resilience Day
  • Monday – EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday – Safety Tuesday
  • Wednesday – EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday – Save-A-Life Day (CPR & Stop the Bleed)
  • Friday – EMS Recognition Day

Schools and community groups can use these themes as ideas to celebrate EMS Week. This year, the overall theme is "Rising to the challenge." According to the President of the American
College of Emergency Physicians Gillian Schmitz, "The theme of 'Rising to the Challenge' is particularly meaningful as it reminds our nation that EMS professionals are faced with so many challenges today and they still rise above them. Through it all, EMS continues to respond, support and care for the needs of our communities."

Use this week to thank those who work or have worked on the medical front line. These are people who go to work every day and may find themselves in potentially life-threatening situations, all in the name of serving their communities.

The week of May 15 is to honor and celebrate first responders by participating in the activities surrounding the notable days.