Virginia Office of EMS Announces Cancellation of the 2020 Virginia EMS Symposium

Dear Virginia EMS Stakeholders, 

It is with great disappointment and deliberation that the Virginia Office of EMS announces it has cancelled the 2020 Virginia EMS Symposium, scheduled November 11-15, in Norfolk, due to the current public health climate surrounding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Prior to making this decision, we carefully considered a number of factors. Our instructors, registrants, host city, hotels and businesses of Norfolk, volunteers, exhibitors and staff are instrumental in making the Virginia EMS Symposium one of the largest and most comprehensive EMS training events in the country. Due to many unknown factors in the months ahead, and the amount of advanced planning and commitment required to hold such a complex event, we determined that cancelling this year’s event would be in the best interest of the health, safety and well-being of all Virginia EMS Symposium participants. 

The Virginia EMS Symposium presents an opportunity to gain quality education, network with fellow EMS personnel and publicly recognize the dedication and service you all provide on a daily basis. We greatly appreciate your understanding in our decision to cancel this year’s event and we are confident that the wonderful partnerships the Virginia EMS Symposium program has produced will be maintained in future years.

The Virginia Office of EMS thanks all EMS personnel, including volunteers, staff members and instructors for their continued dedication to the Virginia EMS system, especially throughout this public health crisis. 

Please continue to visit the Virginia Office of EMS website and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) for updates on EMS certification, the 2020 Governor’s EMS Awards and the 2021 Virginia EMS Symposium.


Gary Brown, Director
Virginia Office of EMS


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Still Seek Help in an Emergency

While all of us are being asked to stay home to protect ourselves during this COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know that if you have a time- sensitive medical emergency you need to get help immediately. That means going to the Emergency Room (ER) right away.

So what is a time-sensitive emergency? A heart attack, stroke or traumatic injury. In all of these cases, time is of the essence and you need to seek medical attention immediately. Don’t let fear delay you from getting the medical help you need.

Here’s what you need to do if you are having a time-sensitive emergency:

First call 9-1-1, the dispatcher is trained to help you decide if your medical emergency warrants a trip to the ER. If it does and you can’t drive yourself to the hospital, then an EMS agency will come pick you up and take you there. All EMS agencies are prepared and able to provide SAFE treatment and transport to the hospital. The Regional EMS Councils continue to work closely with the hospitals to ensure SAFE care through the transition into the emergency department.

Your visit to the ER will be different because of COVID-19. You will be screened before you even go into the emergency room and given a mask to protect you from possible exposure to the virus. All of the dedicated medical personnel you meet will be dressed in appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and because of the virus hospitals are not allowing visitors to come with you. Taking care of you and your immediate medical need is what the health care system was designed to do.

So while staying home is the best way to prevent COVID-19, when it comes to a medical emergency seeking help immediately is always the best and safest way to go.

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PEMS Operating Virtually - A Reminder for Committees

This is to remind all PEMS' committees that the PEMS Offices are operating virtually. If you have a scheduled committee meeting, please use the call in method for attending virtually.  The information on how to do this will be sent in a reminder email with the appropriate "Go-to-Meeting link prior to your scheduled meeting.  Please don't hesitate to call the PEMS office if you have any questions.

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