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The Gifts of Mistake and Ignorance

The tree is up and adorned with the lights of the season and dozens of memories in the form of ornaments. Each ornament signifies some event in our personal or family past - dangling reminders of how much we have changed. New jobs, new children, new friends. Each has a back-story and is significant to us, and that is why we hang them every year - to celebrate where we've been and where we've ended up. Our whole lives are festively suspended from the boughs of an illuminated pine tree. It's a beautiful, if not somewhat curious tradition.

It strikes me that even though Christmas only comes once per year, our memories, habits and attitudes model the Tannenbaum during every day. The things we have done throughout our careers in EMS dangle like invisible ornaments from the trees of our psyche. We attach them to our brains either on purpose, or they are so sublime that they adhered themselves without our blessing. Memories of patients, calls, partners, arguments, physicians- th…

Where I Find My Heaven

"Can you go on a truck?"

That was the hasty request of our Operations Manager. I was sitting at my desk trying to catch up with the myriad administrative things I have to accomplish. I'd cleared my schedule, come in early and closed my door in the hope that I could focus and maybe even make some headway on the new projects I'm building. But here he was asking me if I could hop on a rig to take calls because we were getting slammed. Of course I got on a truck. Our operation comes first above all. Our ability to be there when people need us is the only thing that matters when push comes to shove. I love that about our organization - we don't miss calls. Even the CEO and Company President get on an ambulance when we're strapped. Office work will wait.

Our HR Manager and I hopped into Unit 253, bounced around for the better part of an hour, and then responded for a guy with expressive aphasia. A transport to the regional vascular center and a drop-off for a stat …

Scene Safety - More Than Jazz Hands and Words

While we certainly should not be panicked, and while there is no reason to suspect that EMS personnel will be targeted for violence, it is worth noting that we have seen periodic episodes of discord across the country over the last year or so. High profile events occur and fuel these episodes, usually resulting in violence against law enforcement. The most recent event was the shooting of Dallas Police Officers last night. But EMS is not immune from violence. We are uniformed and often on-scene when people are angry, under the influence, or just plain ornery. People can and do hurt us, too. If you are not already practicing scene safety on every call you are on you really should start.

Here's a quick training-guy guideline: Remember "R.A.V.E."

R = Respect. Showing simple respect to individuals on-scene can de-escalate many situations. "Sir, Ma'am, Thank You, Please, I'm Sorry..." These all go a long way in keeping people calm.

A = Awareness. We sometime…

Falling in love

I'd like you to think back to your first love and the first time that you had your heart broken. (If you haven't had your heart broken, you'll have to use your imagination - and I posit that your experience of life is yet incomplete)! You were probably angry, or sad, or confused, or some combination of the three. Depending on how bad you got it, you may have stayed up all night thinking about the guy or girl who stomped on your heart. You probably didn't get much done that day and maybe for the few days afterwards. Basically somebody threw a wrench into your life plans.
Expectations are a huge part of life and when someone or something fails to meet our expectations frustration and anger are the direct result. When we fall in love and expect to be happy and content, the loss of that love object destroys those expectations. That is why it hurts.
But falling in love doesn't happen only between two people. You can fall in love with ideas and thoughts, too. One of the gr…

Happy EMS Week!

It's been a bit since I have blogged here. Lots of things in life keeping me busy. For those few of you who, for some reason really wait on my words, I apologize for the absence! For the other 99% of you... well... yeah.

Anyway, this is a video I have been tinkering with for a few weeks in my spare time. It's dedicated to all of those amazing EMS providers out there. Regardless of your uniform or your time in the field, you do a most honorable job. As a colleague, and as a citizen, I thank you.

Happy EMS Week, and be safe out there!

EMS Week 2016 Tribute





Our Friends Yahbut and Iheard

I have an odd story to tell. It's truly astounding, actually. In almost thirty years of employment spanning five different career fields and ten different agencies and institutions, there have been two guys that have worked with me. Every place. As God is my witness these two dudes have been co-workers of mine for my whole life. I want to share this story because they are with me in EMS and have been especially active over the last few years - picking up tons of overtime and driving culture and paradigms. They have made and continue to make indelible markings on patient care and customer service, yet they've maintained their anonymity extremely well. They are influencers - creators of "spooky action at a distance," to borrow from Einstein.

It is time, now. Time for people to learn their names and understand the contribution they make to EMS. Please allow me to introduce them!

The first is a gentleman named "Yahbut." He's a pretty vocal guy, but he'…