"EMS: Your Life Is Our Mission," is the theme of Emergency Medical Services Week this week in Pennsylvania.

The state Department of Health will commemorate the week with an event in the state Capitol Rotunda at 11 a.m. Thursday, which will include a discussion of proposed improvements to the state's EMS Systems Act.

The Emergency Medical Services System includes first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses, and physicians. About 51,000 EMS practitioners are certified in Pennsylvania. In 2007, the Pennsylvania EMS system responded to approximately 1.8 million patients, the Health Department said.

"EMS Week is an opportunity for the citizens of Pennsylvania to recognize EMS practitioners for the many hours they spend delivering urgently needed care in your community," Secretary of Health Calvin Johnson said in a news release.    - Inquirer staff