Sunday, January 30


Some sayings in our culture require little explanation.  Others help if you have a visual image to go along with them.   I was witness to just such an occasion and, as  a result, will no longer be using the phrase at the end of this post.

As responders we like to tell ourselves that we've seen it all, that there is nothing that will surprise us.  A wall goes up and at the same time a morbid curiosity begins to grow within, almost challenging us to seek out something more extreme.

Other times the more extreme is waiting for you on the sidewalk in front of a local market.

Just when you think that curiosity has passed, the universe, God, fate, whatever you believe steps in and reminds us that we are but watchers.  No matter how kind we are to strangers, no matter who we try to help, there is a section of the population that does not exist on the same plane.  They do not process right and wrong in a manner that allows them to fit within a society.

Their solution to someone breaking up a fight they are in is to start another one.  Only this one escalates quickly, and our new friend is caught off guard...5 times.

By the time we arrive the damage has been done but the crews work quickly and the damage is contained.

"Why?" he wispers from beneath the non-rebreather mask while lying prone on the cot.

"Try not to talk" the medic tells him.

Someone stabbed him in the back.

Wednesday, January 26

Blog of the year scouting report - EMS

I know, I know, this is going up after voting has begun, but this crowd deserved a thorough look.  Here is what you need to know before casting your vote in the Black Diamond Fire/EMS Blog of the year Contest.

EMS 12 Lead - Tom Bouthillet is credited with giving Mark Glencorse (A judge in the contest, I smell a fix) the tools and information to make the first ever social media save.  An accomplished practitioner and educator, this blog gives Paramedics and EMTs alike the tools they need to understand this complex thing called the heart.  Or at least the electrical impulses of said heart and how subtle changes in that show up on a tiny piece of paper.  Now that I think of it, aren't we talking about running 15 lead ECGs on cardiac patients?  Looks like Tom is 3 leads short of getting my vote.

Ambulance Driver Files - Writer, podcaster and respected Blogfather Kelly Greyson never misses the mark when writing about EMS and his other passions.  The EMS Newbie podcast is a breath of fresh air from the standard group format and Kelly's advice to Ron is spot on.  You may think from this review that he deserves your vote, but his blog header has an eerie photo of him holding a crab with a sunglass sunburn.  In most circles a plus, but gives me the willies every time I see it.  Without that pic I'd vote for him.

Life Under the Lights - From a close friend Chris Kaiser comes this blog about fire and EMS in both paid and volunteer systems.  I think Chris is one of the few volunteer bloggers to really "make it big" but recent events have limited his time to get online. And by recent events I mean getting that regular writing gig over at JEMS.  And because my favorite post of his is all about avoiding cleaning up cat puke, I almost recommend him as my favorite, but no.  Sorry, buddy.  You should have cuddled more when we shared that bed in Indy at FDIC.

EverydayEMStips - Cancer, F#&* You! is a post title I can get behind for sure.  Webmaster Greg Friese takes readers on a journey from basic family interactions, to advance practice tips on this, one of his many sites.  It's great layout allows you to drop in, read a few articles and be on your way with new ideas and concepts.  You can also find him on twitter and facebook bragging about 9 mile runs.  That's where I draw the line.  It's hard to enjoy a margarita at 9 am when he does that. No vote!

TheEMTSpot - I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Steve Whitehead in Dallas last year and was blown away by his style of teaching.  It was more like being in a conversation than a lesson and it was so much like his great website.  The bitchin' header is still there and the content continues to inspire conversation every time I go.  Also a topic of conversation is why I still try to wipe the blood off his banner.  What's that old saying?  Fool me once...shame on...on you...fool me twice...don't get fooled again?

EMS Office Hours - I originally thought this was a site to let me know where my medical director actually goes all day long since he's clearly not reading our protocols.  Jim Hoffman's podcast and postings usually cover topics geared towards providers.  I don't listen in every wednesday, like I should so I can be a part of the discussion, but I do my best to catch shows when I can.  Jim's new site as part of the new network is a great addition to their lineup there.  There is only one reason not to vote for him...

Rescuing Providence -

Michael Morse writes with a style that has yet to be matched in the online EMS world, each post a piece of art that takes the reader right into the scene as if riding along with Rescue 1 in Providence.

Each time I see a new post I know it will be short, sweet and speak of the emotions we feel while caring for others, be they injured, ill or imagining.

When I sit to write a post the first thing I think about is the imagery, emotion and feel of what I am about to write and try to capture what Lt Morse does, but always fall short.

Luckily he posts often and I can experience great writing on a topic that I love.

Thanks for reading, vote early, vote often!

Tuesday, January 25

Ambulance Specs

A facebook follower recently posted the following on the Happy Medic Page:

"I recently got involved in specifications for 2 new ambulances...any suggestions out there?"

Well, are there?

This is what social media is about folks, being able to spread an idea, issue or question far and wide quickly to get a wide variety of responses.

If I was on the committee to spec new rigs I'd have a few requests for sure.

  1. Larger area behind the front seats so night crews could recline a bit and have room to store their coolers and jackets, and packpacks etc.

  2. Plugs in said larger area for crew to run laptops and plug in other peripherals

  3. A compartmentalization layout designed by actual practitioners so that I don't have to stand up from the airway chair to reach my airway supplies for example.

  4. Suspensions that last more than 6 months.

  5. Warning lights that can be seen when the back doors are open.

  6. GPS

  7. Because my system is limited by height since 2 of our ER entrances are underground, I can't get a taller rig, but it'd be nice.

  8. If you're a rural FD EMS, what about extra room for turnouts and airpacks, perhaps even a CAFS?

What are you looking for in a new ambulance?

Monday, January 24

Blog of the Year Scouting Report - FIRE

As was the case last year, I am submitting my field scouting report on the finalists for the Black Diamond Boot Fire and EMS Blog of the Year Contest.

First off, yes, I'm in both categories, which I think splits my votes.  Or does it double them?  I blog 80-90% EMS which matches how much of my firefighter's job deals with EMS, and, I have a helmet, so there ya' go.

I have compiled a report to let you in on some important information about the other contestants/nominees in the contests...information I'll bet you didn't know.


Iron - Another FireEMSBlogs brother, covering news and events from Roanoke.  The site has a lot of tips on firefighting but I especially like the feel I get when I read the posts...that I'm reading a family photo album.  I guess the site really is a good one.  I have no criticisms to report, perhaps WHOAH! look at the mustache! Ixney on the otevey.'s Curt Varone has been a fireman longer than I've been alive and a lawyer for as long as LA Law has been on reruns, but I'm not disqualifying his blog on age...oh no no.  This alleged law site covers all the information on the litigation end of what we do day in and day out. It will be proven to the court that Curt has, on repeated occasion, made me afraid to go to work.  We like to think what we do doesn't need lawyers and I'm learning we are indeed wrong.  Add him to your reader or you will be held in contempt.  But because he does cite all his arguments and use $10 words, he should be disqualified.  I'm a fireman, I need easy to understand shapes and colors.

Wildfire - While most folks read this site to brush up (HAHA! see what I did there? no?...) on issues pertaining to wild land and urban interface news and tips, I read it to remind me why I stay back and fill in the overtime spots when the strike teams go out.  I can crawl out of a burning building, but crawling out of the forest gets complicated and draws odd looks from passing animals.  Whether you're a red card back seat, pilot on a tanker or Commander of a SFR Team, Wildfire Today is a must read.  But because gardening is nice and camping is fun that doesn't mean we have to combine them.  Like the comedian says, "I like strip clubs, and I like grandma..."  Sorry...

A Firefighter's Own Worst - Training resources? Who needs those these days? I just read the ventilation manual at was updated in 1978 so I'll be fine.  I always knew I was my own worst enemy, but the more I learn from these folks the less that impacts me.  And ending almost every post reminding me to be safe? What's that all about.  Voting for this site is the safe thing to do, do you want to be safe?  Do you?

the Happy -Ruggedly handsome, writing style that combines King, Bach and Mad Magazine, accomplished story teller and remarkably humble. - Dave Statter never sleeps.  I read on that he is in fact a team of people: Dave Johnson, Stacey Williams and a complex internet search program called "tTater."  Like I've said before, Statter911 has such quick updates from the fire service, a video of a fire you're about to goto is already up on his site.  If you are wondering whether or not to vote for Statter, go over to his site, there is already a story about who won the contest.

Fire - So what if they post about everything you need to know in public safety?  So what if they gave me the exposure early on to get where I am.  And talk about nice new headers on articles Pbbbbbbbt!  Look past the content, frequency and quality and look at their names and ages.  FireGEEZER and FOSSILMedic, both easily pushing 45, and I've met them both! They are old and may not even notice they've been nominated.  This blog is my vote for blog of the year.

Soon, the EMS Division which is even more squirrely than this motley crew.

VOTING IS OPEN and you can vote for each category every 6 hours so get over there and vote for for 2010 Fire Blog of the Year!

Friday, January 21

No Imagination

It used to be the folks looking for something other than medical care concocted believable stories to confuse us.  Tales of vague complaints and facts that could not be refuted required us to do what they wanted.

Where is the imagination?

Why not even the slightest effort?

All you have to do is try and I'll give you credit.  Just try.

Tonight I have seen another of my clients who simply uses EMS as a taxi service and didn't even put the effort into it.

AP (Angry Person) is sitting on a bench near an intersection in a rather lightly traveled area.

HM (Our hero) dismounts the engine, ALS kit in tow.

And now to our scene:

HM "Did you report an emergency?"

AP "I took all my medicines, I need a hospital."

HM "The ambulance is on the way, My name is Justin, may I ask yours?"

AP "I'm AP. Where is the ambulance?"

HM "It's coming, they asked me to stop by in the meantime and see if you need help.  What did you take and when?" My pen is at the ready as the EMT is having no luck convincing AP to roll up their sleeve for a BP.

AP "All of them, all my pills."

HM "What are they called or what are they for?"

AP "I don't know. I don't want to answer a bunch of smart ass questions, I want to go to the hospital."

HM "I'm clear on your request, but I need to find out what may be happening so I can possibly help you." AP rolls their eyes and crosses their legs and arms, then sighs.

HM "Do you have ID?"

AP Taken aback at such a question "No I don't have ID...I...I was mugged a week ago."

HM Relaxing "OK, that's fine.  If you were mugged, where did you get the medicine?"

AP "The pharmacy of course. You ask some pretty stupid questions."

HM Now sitting on the ALS bag "How did you get your meds with no ID?"

AP Realizing the wheels are coming off their poorly thought out story "I don't like you anymore."

We went round and around for a few minutes as the ambulance pulled up.  AP was starting to become more and more hostile and I was becoming the rarely seen "Disagreeable Medic" when I looked at AP and said "This isn't my first rodeo.  Just tell me what you want and I can help you, but lying to me is no way to get what you want."

As if the universe was listening, AP went into a tirade about not being able to afford the nicer things in life, being homeless and no with no meds (forgotten was the reported ingestion) and wanting to endRING...RING.

end what?


AP's cell phone is ringing.  AP answers the phone.  I gave up.  Transfer of care completed.

Thursday, January 20

The Crossover Podcast Episode 8

Another installment of the blabbling on that is the World's only crosspolinated podcast is back from the holiday break (we decide when those are, Sparky) and discuss scene safety versus a scene being secure and use the shooting in Tucson as a backdrop.

We also answer a listener question that was phoned in at 313-451-HMMC, which was our all requests oldies hot line, but is now just a drunk dial number for public safety folks to vent (when off duty of course).

So have a listen and let us know what you think about Medics carrying handcuff keys.

Episode 8 - It took you long enough