PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They are often first on the scene of a crime or emergency, and save countless lives.

Many people say emergency workers are unsung heroes, and that is why this week is dedicated to honoring the men and women who work for EMS.

Every day is different for EMS District Chief Jeffrey Meyer.

“The call volume, the type of call, the weather, everything comes into play,” says Chief Meyer.

He’s worked as a paramedic in the city of Pittsburgh for going on 33 years.

“I won’t say I’ve seen everything, but I’ve seen a lot,” Chief Meyer said.

Some days are busier than others, but, on average, each EMS unit responds to about four to five calls per shift. Lately, a lot of those calls are drug overdoses.

“Narcan. Way back when I started back in the ‘80s, it would expire and we would have to replace it, now we are lucky we can keep it in the truck,” Chief Meyer said.

The calls and types of emergencies have changed over the years, but the mission of the paramedics has not. Get to the scene and help.

“If it’s a life-threatening emergency, seconds count, bottom line,” Chief Meyer says.

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This EMS Week, Chief Meyer hopes the public takes some time to learn what paramedics do.

Although the priority is responding to emergencies, they also do a lot of community outreach and education, things like car seat safety checks.

It’s a busy and high-stress job that takes a special dedication.

“That’s why everyone got into it, it’s community service, it’s the desire to help people,” the chief said.

Soon, there will be more help than ever before. Next week, 14 new EMTs will be joining the city’s 162 paramedics.

The crews have been added to deal with an increase in call volume.

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