By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This is National EMS Week, when emergency medical crews in Philadelphia and elsewhere are honored for their work.

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Saving lives is more than a job, it’s a calling, according to Philadelphia deputy mayor for safety Everett Gillison:

“And so we stand and we say thank you.”

For the rest of us, knowing the most basic techniques for medical emergencies could mean the difference between life and death for the people we love.  Take Gene Corburn, for instance.

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“I was destroyed thinking that those rescue breaths would be the last time I would ever have the opportunity to kiss the love of my life,” he said today at ceremonies at the Fire Administration Building, 2nd and Spring Garden Streets.  “I was wrong.”

Corburn and his wife Hillary (in photo above) today were thanking Philadelphia’s first responders for saving her — and allowing her such joys.

“I danced with my son at his wedding,” she notes.  “We watched my daughter graduate with honors from Jefferson Medical College.”

George Butz, the Philadelphia regional director for Emergency Medical Services, says CPR is easy to learn, so why not do it?

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“Most heart attacks happen around family members.  That’s why it’s important for as many people as possible to have CPR training,” he says.