Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reflections on the Passing of a Paramedic ...

EMS people, especially in our early careers, tend to feel invulnerable. I'm the rescuer ... bad things won't happen to me because it's my job to be here for everyone else. My first experience with that was in the mid 80s when I was working as a paramedic for a "home town" ambulance company and responded to a motorcycle accident. It wasn't the first ... and certainly wouldn't be the last. I'd had a few years in by then and things were becoming a little routine. It turned out the "victim" in this case was a fellow paramedic and was in traumatic cardiac arrest after hitting a stopped vehicle then getting catapulted accross a major highway. The trauma center staff (the ones who were able to function in the face of familiarity) did thier best, inclusive of cracking his chest, but Frank was gone. My husband (at the time) was a cat scan tech in the same hospital and there to comfort me, but all I felt was numb. I was numb through the next week; the retelling of the story, the viewing, then the funeral. Our ambulance led the procession. One of the responding LA County firefighters was with us.

There was no CISM program back then. We were on our own. We thought the funeral would put closure on the event. Two years later I learned what PSTD was. The other thing I learned from that experience was that it was the newer employees, the ones that didn't even know Frank, were affected the most. That's when I understood how we tend to weave this "web of invulnerability" around us. Then, when we lose one of our own, it's like a sharp smack to the head and a recognition of our own mortality.

This week, some 20 years later, I went to a memorial for another paramedic killed in a motorcycle accident. His name was Rob Brooks. He was 38. he had worked through some very rough times in his life to become a sucessful 11 year medic and father. His last post on his Facebook page was to thank people for birthday wishes. He worked in west Contra Costa County, a tough place to work, but where lifelong friendships were formed. "West County people" are a rare breed and won't work in any of the "milder" parts of the county.

II always have a reluctance to go to "one more" of these memorials because I've had to acknowledge the deaths of too many firefighters, cops and EMS people over the years. Most of them were taken before thier time, like Rob. Only a few years ago Contra Costa County lost two firefighters when a roof collapsed. The memory is still fresh. Each of the people whose memorials I attended took a part of me with them.

There had to be at least 500 people in this very large church. Every seat was taken and people were standing in the doorways. The fire department and police presence was mindboggling. It was a sea of class "A" uniforms. I wouldn't have expected this kind of turnout for a private paramedic. It says something about our county and the people that work in it. AMR was well represented and the General Manager, Leslie Mueller, was there in her to acknowledge Rob. The Alameda County AMR Honor Guard showed support from our neighboring county. There were employees and former employees I hadn't seen for years. One, a former partner for Rob, came all the way from North Carolina. When the procession left, they were led across the bridge by the red Reach Air Medical helicopter.

The thing that struck me about this was that this is the way it should be. There is so much talk about public/private conflict. This comes from the top end; from the political spectrum and the need to position for turf. When it comes to the real work in the streets though, it's all about the relationships you form as a person and a medical professional. I got my first job as an EMT during the time when there were few women and we were only marginally accepted. I had to work harder to prove myself as a competent medic ... and a woman. After that I would spend half my day at LA County Fire station 20. The guys taught me much of what I needed to know to be successful in paramedic school. The first memorial I remember was when one of them died in his sleep one night. He was in his 30s.

At Rob's memorial the amazing outpouring of support and love from the fire and police as well as the EMS community showed that we can work as team ... as a family. This is critically important when there are those who would target us as victims of violence or terrorism. The enemy should be those that wish to harm us, not each other! This memorial showed that true solidarity can exist. This is the basis for the concept of EMS 2.0: When it hits the fan, we're all at the same party."Boots on the ground" people get that. Thank you, Contra Costa County, for being that example. Thank you, Rob, for being who you were and such an inspiration.

Monday, September 6, 2010

EMS 2.0 in PDF ... Check it Out!

I've been spreading the word about Chronicles of EMS and the concept of EMS 2.0 ever since they came into my life. I'm a believer. I also had the good fortune to spend some time with Justin, Mark and Ted on a few "A Seat at the Table" episodes which made me even more of an evalengist. These guys, and many that are following them are doing an amazing job of allowing "boots on the ground" firefighters and EMS folks have a say in how the broken system of prehospital care might be mended. Justin put a lot of effort into this document and I know everything he does comes from the heart. Take some time to read it and share.

If you're in the Northern California area, or even if you're not, come see us at the TAK Response Conference ( in San Jose September 14, 15 and 16. Justin and Ted will be there (with cameras) along with Natalie (MsParamedic) and Jeremiah (Jeramedic). We're filming "A Seat at the Table" episodes on the 15th and will have a "Tweetup" on the 16th. Check www.chroniclesofems for details. We'd love to see you there!

In the meantime, here's a taste and a link of the EMS 2.0 PDF. Thanks, Justin, for all your hard work on this.

The term "2.0" brings to mind backing up all your desktop photos in anticipation of some new version of software you're using. It isn't the same, some buttons have moved, the background is different, but it still does the same things. EMS 2.0 does the opposite. We intend to completely change the way the program works while leaving all your favorite features in place, keeping it comfortable ....

Find it Here!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Follow the discussion about "Firestorm" on the GenMed Podcast

Natalie and Jeremiah welcome special guest Sam Bradley to the show, and talk about their experience in San Francisco at the FIRESTORM Movie premiere.

I've adopted two kids ... well, not really ... and they're really not kids. They have, however, deemed me the "EMS 2.0 Mom" so I guess that mean they're the "EMS 2.0" kids. For more what EMS 2.0 is, see the previous posts.

The "kids" in questions are Jeremiah (@jeremedic) and Natalie (@msparamedic). I met them both through the "Chronicles of EMS". Actually, Jer got into this after listening to an interview I did with Greg Friese on one of his many podcasts. Now he's a very active blogger, Twitterer and podcaster.

The two of them, with a few others, started a podcast called, "GenMed" which is geared toward the newer EMT/Paramedic. I. of course, represent the EMS dinosaurs. Maybe I should start the "DinoMed" Podcast. Either way, I love these two and what they're contributing to prehospital medicine. They asked me to be on one of thier first podcasts. The discussion revolved around the premiere of a very intense film called, "Firestorm", an frank look at issues within the Los Angeles EMS system. Having spend 17 years of my career there, it had particular interest for me.

From the site:

FIRESTORM follows The Los Angeles City Fire Department undereducated population. The LAFD handles all emergency medical services for the city of Los Angeles, and currently 82% of the department's work is medical, rather than fire-related. Eleven hospitals have closed in just five years in LA, and the challenge of delivering more than 500 patients per day to a shrinking number of hospitals is overwhelming to the LAFD. With resources strained, and 911 being used for everything from heart attacks to stomach aches, LAFD paramedics have become virtual "doctors in a box".

Jeremiah has Worked in Los Angeles since 2006, and Sam for the first half of her career. They bring a local prospective to the discussion, contrasted by Natalie, and her experience in Louisiana.

Please take a listen and see what you think. This is the **real** state of EMS. From there you can follow Jer and Nat, thier websites and blogs, and #CoEMS. Find it here!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered What You'd Write in Your Last Blog?

I never knew Carla Zilbersmith, although I wish I had. I learned about her from the e-mails updating her condititon at Los Medanos College where we both work. Carla is dying from ALS. The e-mail today talked about her last blog post. I almost didn't read it, but somehow felt compelled to ... as if I owed it to her.
The title of her blog says, "Carla is a mother, humorist and writer. She writes about life, art, politics and the things that scare her."

Death is apparently not one of those things. This is just a snip of what she has to say:

"I learned a lot from my experiences with ALS, as well as my experiences writing this blog. Almost everyone has a story of loss or longing and almost everyone desires a way to find meaning in our lives that whirl past us so quickly. Almost all of us count our loved ones as our most cherished commodity and yet, so many of us don’t have or make time to spend with them. We want to stop and smell the roses, we want to fully embody gratitude in our hearts and minds, we want to be the best ‘us’ we can be, and yet the road is beset with detours and roadblocks.You owe it to yourself to read this, and perhaps the others that chronicles this amazing woman's life and journey with ALS. What would you write if you knew it was your last blog?

I will gradually fade in people’s memories, so that even my son or my dad will have to look at a video or a picture to remember what I looked like and what I sounded like. This blog, whether it becomes a book or not, will be relegated to the shelves of both minds and/or libraries. Nothing lasts forever. The formidable boulder becomes a grain of sand swept away into the sea. All we have is now. I’m going to keep making the most of my now. I’m going to try to avoid preemptive sadness and I’m going to urge people who read this to…

I don’t believe that to everything, there is a purpose. I don’t believe in a logical, just universe. I believe in randomness. Having said that, if me dying has been helpful to anyone or made anyone realize the depth of love they have for this world or for the people around them, then I’m pretty pleased about that. I’m also really stoked that I’ll be eternally good-looking. Personally, I was not looking forward to arthritis, jowls, cellulite, or the inability to recognize when I was wearing too much perfume.

I have decided that while Mac and others may continue to post, this will be my final post. I’ve said everything I want to say and everything comes to an end. ALS has been calling most of the shots, but not this one. I get to decide when this great experience called the blog is over and I call it. It’s over.

It’s been an honor to have people read and comment on this blog. Thank you for everything you have taught me and for all of the kind words that have lifted my spirits. News will continue through this blog, including specifics about my funeral, which I guarantee you will be the world’s most hilarious funeral ever conceived by man ... but you already knew that, didn’t you?"

Carla, Goodbye and thanks for leaving some words of wisdom for the rest of us  ...

Carla's Blog

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Does This Mean???

Find out here ...

The UK HART Team - a New Concept in Interagency Cooperation

This appeared on my JEMS Connect Disaster EMS page. I thought it was interesting and worth sharing ...I'm sure Ian would appreciate some feedback.

My name is Ian (Dixon) and I am a Paramedic from one of the UK's new Hazardous Area Response Teams, known slightly confusingly known as HART teams! We are part of a National programme to provide paramedics in the'hot zone''. In the UK Fire, Police, and Ambulance services have traditionally been entirely distinct with no crossovers, but in the 21st century things have changed and new working relationships are developing. Since 2001 a movement has developed quickly to put operational ambulance staff inside the inner cordon/hot zone, from which we had previously been excluded, on the grounds that the casualties and the Fire and Police personnel deserved better medical backup. The HART programme was developing quickly but was not operational when the 2005 London bombings occurred. Shortly afterwards the prototype HART unit was established in London with an Urban Search and Rescue team set up in Yorkshire. In 2008 the Yorkshire Ambulance Service began recruiting for a full HART unit incorporating the very successful USAR team, and in 2009 we went live. The remit appears to be similar and yet distinct from other models of disaster relief. The UK has (will have very shortly) 12 HART teams spread throughout the country with similar set- ups in Scotland. Each team has 42 members consisting of 7 teams of 6 people. My unit is a mix of Paramedics and EMT's, all from the ambulance service, but with a broad range of previous experience including ex firefighters, Police , Military, civilian search and rescue etc. We are FULL TIME HART operatives being paid by the Dept. of Health at the National level but employed by the regional ambulance service. The extensive training covers extended duration BA to provide medical/rescue back up to our Firefighter colleagues, and CBRN training to provide the same for the public, Firefighters, Police, and the military. Amongst other training is HAZMED, civil disturbance, and of course the confined space and working at height elements or USAR. As a new resource to the UK resilience we are building more bridges between ourselves and our own frontline EMS colleagues; our Firefighter colleagues ; the Police and the military. Currently tasked only to the UK , most of my brothers and sisters look forward to the near future when we hope to be able to be available in Europe and beyond if required. The recent Italian earthquake was right on our doorstep, and unfortunately somewhere in the world is in the same position on a monthly basis.
We have sent people on training exercises in other jurisdictions most notably in Denmark, where work with all three services and foreign military including some from the USA was said to have been beneficial to all. It would be great to hear any feedback/experience or comments from the wider EMS community, and perhaps in particular from any contacts similarly tasked. Ps, happy Easter its cold and miserable here in Northern England.......

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Have to Watch: Chronicles of EMS, "A Seat at the Table" Episode 5

I was honored to have "A Seat at the Table" in Thaddeus Setla's new "Chronicles of EMS" video discussion series with Chronicles hosts, Justin Schorr (San Francisco) and Mark Glencorse (UK). As I represented the older generation, Natalie Quebodeaux (Louisiana) represented the new generation of EMSers. Chris Kaiser (Wisconsin) brings a different perspective from rural EMS. What we have in common is blogging, podcasting, social media, and a desire to make EMS a better place to be. Join us in this discussion of social media; the good, the bad and where this might take us in the future!

Find it here!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Chronicles of EMS" A Seat at the Table is Live!

It's hard to believe this was filmed a little over 24 hours ago. Join Justin and Mark as they discuss "EMS 2.0" with Chris Kaiser.

"Chronicles of EMS" Season 1 Premiere!

If you're in EMS, you need to see this!

Here’s some suggested reading: (Stolen unshamelessly from "Life Under the Lights"

Http:// – Ted Setla’s Production Company

– The Level Zero Movie (I have a signed copy!!)

Http:// – The page for #CoEMS

MsParamedic’s article on #CoEMS – Great Meeting you! ‘s article on #CoEMS

David Konig’s article on #CoEMS

FireGeezer’s Article on #CoEMS – Really? Johnny and Roy?? Well, maybe…

Fire Daily’s article on #CoEMS – Bromance indeed

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"A Seat at the Table" and Frumpydumple

"Frumpydumple" is just one of the things I took away from these last two days. The other was a reinforced confirmation that I will never, ever drive in downtown San Francisco again. It was a means to an end, however, and that was the "Chronicles of EMS" premiere at the Hotel Frank. On arrival, I went looking for it's creator, Ted Setla, (@Setla) and found him wound in wires, tape and last minute tech stuff. I was also looking for Chris Kaiser (@CKEMTP) who had tweeted me about a new idea he wanted to talk about. Going out the door to get a bite, I immediately recognized Natalie Q (@msparamedic) and Jeremiah Bush (@jeramedic). Even though I hadn't seen these two in the flesh, it felt like meeting my own kids! Jeremiah comes from LA County and said he started following this group after hearing my interview on EMSEducast with Greg Friese. That was a good feeling. Natalie is a sweetheart and doing amazing things for a 23 year old farm bred paramedic in Louisiana.

That started the parade of EMS bloggers, podcasters, writers and videographers, some of whom I had met and others who were new. As the video started, I stood next to my friend Theresa Farina from the San Francisco Paramedic Association and realized I was also standing next to AJ Heightman of JEMS magazine. We all watched in awe as England's Mark Glencorse (@medic999) experienced his first taste of San Francisco EMS with SF Firefighter-Paramedic Justin Schorr (@thehappymedic). When it was over, AJ turned and asked what I thought. I was almost speechless. It was sensitive, revealing, cathartic and ... real. Even better said by a tweet today: "@mduschl: Great job by #CoEMS guys. No heroic stories, no pseudo dramatic cases, just our real life in EMS. We need more of this!"

Dr Keith Wesley, another person I was honored to meet, got a group together for dinner and we found ourselves in a private wine room of a very upscale SF restaurant: Chris Kaiser, Chris Monterra (@Geekymedic) Dr. Keith, Greg Friese, (@gfriese), Natalie, Jeremiah, my friend Dr. Jim Brasiel, spouses and others. It was a wonderful relaxed meal and sharing with some of the best in EMS.

After breakfast this morning, a number of us carpooled across the bridge to Casa de Setla which was also the set for "A Seat at the Table", a new web series that recognizes that all EMS people should have 'a seat at the table' when it comes to making prehospital care better. At the head of the table was the laptop with all the people in the chat room who were listening and interacting with us.  Three sessions were filmed, all with our stars, Justin and Mark and a mix of Chris Kaiser, Natalie, Jim Brasiel and myself. It was excellent discourse on everything from the "Chronicles" to the effect of social media on EMS to where this may all go in the future. This was just the start of what could be a never ending series of subjects with EMSers from all over. Needless to say, I was proud to be asked to be part of it.

In the last two days, thoughts were shared, ideas hatched, alliances created, and a unique community gained strength. The excitement surges. This is no longer a group of people that knows each other only by what they can say in 140 characters at a time. They read each others blogs, listen to each other's podcasts, text and Skype. EMS as we know it is about to change, so hang on and go for the ride!

Oh ... frumpydumple? You'll have to ask Chris Kaiser. You can find him at "".

Saturday, January 30, 2010


This new blog, "Red Lights, Hot Spots and Disaster", is an attempt to encourage EMTs, paramedics, nurses, docs, firefighters, law enforcement personnel and disaster workers into sharing the stories of their professional lives. Why did you decide to be in the profession you chose? What drives you to keep doing it? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are the high points and low points of your job? We'd all like to know. Come on over and join us. Bring a story, a thought, a comment or a discussion. We'd like to hear from you.

Repost on Haiti Deployment

This post was done two weeks ago on my writer's blog:

A week ago Tuesday I was driving from Northern to Southern California to meet with a representative from Washington DC to work on a national training project. Car travel for me generally assumes being firmly entrenched in the iPod zone. I actually look forward to long drives as it’s an opportunity for me to catch up on my favorite podcasts and audiobooks. That might explain my complete mystification when I dropped into the hotel bar at 7:30 to see news footage of the Haiti earthquake on the TV. Me: “So, when did that happen?” Bartender: “Oh, about 3:00 this afternoon.” That’s when my iPhone came to life with e-mails from the team speculating about a possible deployment. Deploying to Haiti would be our first international mission. So, there I was, sitting at the other end of the state with an all day meeting scheduled the following day. The next morning we met for breakfast and guessed that my team would probably not be deployed before the end of the week. International travel creates a whole new set of complexities to the already daunting task of sending multiple teams of thirty-five people into a disaster area. We were wrong. DMAT CA-6 and other teams were moving out by the end of the day. Even though I wasn’t on the current roster, I was disappointed about being left behind. Disaster medical people are a unique bunch and thrive on working in the worst of circumstances. The extremely austere conditions in Haiti would provide an especially challenging opportunity.

Who are these people? In 2008, I was doing an article for JEMS magazine that was ready to go when my (then) employer decided I wasn’t high enough in the food chain to author the article. The magazine liked it, but it didn’t see print. In the process of creating it, I interviewed some of my team members to try and explain what drives them to do what they do. This is a chance for their thoughts to come off my hard drive and to be shared with you.

David Lipin went from being a partner in a computer networking business to joining DMAT CA-6 as an EMT. Within a few years, he became the commander of our team. In our opinion, he’s the best in the system. (No bias, here!) I asked Dave what attracted him to disaster medicine.

“I got into disaster work because it's so different than my ‘day job’. It works a different part of my brain, is almost like a vacation, and ultimately, is just so darned satisfying. The best part is the grateful responses of patients we treat at disasters. No bills, no insurance, no worries -- just medicine”. Dave devotes himself to this work full time now, and states that he’s “living his dream”. When asked about his best memories of deployments, he told me: “Watching a baby girl being born at the Superdome, and seeing my wife at the airport upon returning from Ground Zero”. I’m anxious to hear what experiences he brings home from Haiti.

Annie Bustin is an experienced RN who is a triage nurse in San Francisco, and the Disaster Coordinator for her hospital. In my opinion, she exemplifies what a nurse should be. (No bias here, either!) She is also the Operations Chief for DMAT CA-6. When asked what attracts her to disaster work, Annie said, “Being an RN in the emergency department allows me to use my critical thinking skills. I can be creative, go outside the box, and actually do something for a patient to make them feel cared for. It’s incredibly satisfying. Disaster work is that same feeling, but a thousand fold. It’s knowing that you're right where you're supposed to be, that you can give your blood, sweat and tears to a stranger without them ever knowing it; without the world ever knowing it.”

Annie is motivated by the fact that she has the skills to make a positive difference in someone’s life during the worst of circumstances. “I can give back to the human race. I can give a piece of myself to healing the injured, ill, broken and destroyed victims of a disaster. I can give hope where there is none. How can you turn down a job like that?” Deployments aren’t always easy, and Annie described her most memorial moments of Katrina as too private to share. “It's an emotional moment that’s as strong now as it was then.” But, she’s treating people in Haiti as we speak. Her words reflect beautifully how many of us feel, “At the end of the day, when you can finally lay your head down somewhere, a sense of peace and mercy falls upon your breaking heart. And you know then, that you've come home”.

A DMAT or any disaster medical team is not just about the medical personnel. The team can’t function without a place to practice and sleep; the use of electricity, water and sanitation; and certainly, communications. Critically important team members include the logisticians or, as we affectionately call them, the “loggies”. In answer to the question, “Why do you do this”, a loggie told me; “Because I have a screw loose in my head. Who in their right mind pursues a career and a hobby where you run toward a situation that other people are screaming and running away from? The best part is the feeling of accomplishment that you've done something to help, that you gave them your best shot, and you got people through it. It’s the satisfaction of having to improvise and create something that helps the team or a patient, by using non-standard thinking and a creative skills set to make a piece of chewing gum and a Band-Aid into a heart monitor. It’s what “loggies” do best.” He’s right … loggies are the most creative and resourceful people on the planet.

We see an amazing number of people in the few weeks we’re in a disaster area. We suture, hydrate, cleanse and salve their wounds. We comfort them the best we can. What makes a deployment difficult is never having closure on the stories of the people we treat: parents separated from kids; loved ones floating away after a hurricane or flood; people missing under the rubble of an earthquake; the loss of beloved animals and everything they own. We can’t tell them, “It will be all right” because we know it won’t be. We don’t know where the homeless will go or whether they’ll ever see their families again. We can tend to their wounds and replace their meds, but we can’t repair the psychological devastation that will remain long after we’re gone. It almost leaves us feeling guilty for having an intact family and home to return to.

Yet, we love to remember the moments when something happens that brings a little light to the darkness: a family is reunited, a baby is born, or a life is saved. At Ground Zero we met the family of a lost FDNY firefighter that we still remain in contact with. I wrote about Christian Regenhard in the story about my Ground Zero experience in the book, “To the Rescue, Stories of Healthcare Workers at the Scene of Disaster.” After Katrina, CNN profiled a story about a woman whose mother still hadn’t been located many months after the hurricane. Dave recognized the missing woman as one they had seen when the team was trying to make their way to the Superdome and some people were pushing her up the freeway on a gurney-like device. The team stopped and attended to her then provided for her evacuation. Even though the prognosis for her was certainly not good, Dave was able to provide some much needed closure for that family … all recorded on CNN. Now the team is back in the lights of the CNN cameras doing the good work that they do. They are there with the USARs, religious and non-governmental organizations; the American military, and the Comfort hospital ship to name just a few.

Okay, here comes the rant … It’s my blog, I can say what I think. Every time I hear negative comments about the US response to Haiti being too slow or not good enough, it annoys the crap out of me. To those people: before you criticize, know the facts. First of all, there is no mandate for us to be there. We are a humanitarian nation and choose to be there. When the call comes, team members have to get off work and prepare their families, while the government processes a deluge of travel orders. They have to determine how to safely get them into the disaster area, especially when there are issues like damaged ports, lack of aircraft fuel, and a semi-functional and overloaded airport. Then, there are the issues of security for the personnel and getting huge caches of equipment to the teams. News flash: There is no means of instantly transporting people and equipment and have them land in a light beam in an affected area an hour after a disaster … end of rant.

So, am I going to Haiti? I don’t know. If the call comes, I’ll be ready as will many of us who missed the boat ... or plane, the first time. I’ll remove the down jacket and fleece I packed for a trip to Alaska and replace them with bug spray and mosquito netting. If I don’t go to Haiti, there will always be another disaster somewhere ... sometime …

If you read this far, you might be interested in another disaster blog by a friend of mine, Deanna Polk, called “Global RN” at

Well, it’s time to turn on CNN and see if I can find my team. We had given ourselves a motto of “Caregivers to the Nation.” I guess we need to change it now to, “Caregivers to the World”. Stay safe, my friends.

Red Lights, Hot Spots and Disaster

The Concept: I have many interests which intertwine around each other, yet are also very different. My work as a paramedic has taken me from 911 ambulance work, to the world of disaster medicine, and now EMS training and QI for both fire departments and communications centers. I'm a trauma and QI consultant for an EMS agency in California and training officer for both a federal disaster medical team and a local Medical Reserve Corp. I teach an EMT class for a local community college. I love the work, and it pays the mortgage, but I also have a strong love of writing and now, podcasting. My first feature article was for the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) in 1991 which led to presenting a few pre-conference workshops for their conference series. I have written and edited EMS textbooks and just had a story published in an anthology of disaster stories called, "To the Rescue - Stories of Healthcare Workers at the Scene of Disaster". I created a blog called, "Sam Bradley's Writer's Blog" that I've linked to a podcast, but found trying to address the world of EMS, Fire and Disaster along with unrelated stories tended to be confusing and cumbersome. Hence, this new blog which will link to a podcast specifically addressing the EMS life.

Discovering the world of EMS Social Media: I received my first iPod as a Christmas gift in 2005 and uploaded the first podcasts from iTunes. Initially there wasn't a whole lot of EMS podcasts, but that has changed dramatically in the last few years. Social media, especially Twitter, has opened my eyes to a whole new world of EMS related media. I learned about a movie called, "Level Zero" which was created by a man named Thaddeus (Ted) Setla ( Ted is an Alameda County paramedic. I expected to see a "You Tube" level production but found an amazing, well produced, professional level film about "real" EMS people, many of which I knew personally. I found Ted on Twitter and we began to chat. I found that he had created "Level Zero" for EMS week 2009. Not only was this not-for-profit, but any money donated went to the families of the Oakland police officers that had been recently slain. Needless to say, I was immediately impressed with his love for the business, his charity, and his interest in taking EMS to a new level.

Through my association with Ted, I met some other amazing EMS field people who had blogs and/or podcasts. Subsequently, Greg Friese from EPS411 and emseducast invited me to take part in two podcasts with his group. Ted, and now Greg, let me to other people like Chris Montera (Geekymedic) at, Tim Noonan (The Rogue Medic) at, Carissa O’Brien at, Buck Feris at Jamie Davis(The Podmedic) at, Steve Whitehead at, Christopher Kaiser from and Dr. Keith Wesley from This is just the short list.

These people (and others I will link to in this blog)started an effort called EMS 2.0, which is an attempt to improve EMS from the field up. Ted experimented with some new social media concepts at the "EMS Today" conference in 2009. He and his group interviewed people from the conference, produced video of panel discussions, and created streaming video of the event with chat room communication capability. I took part in this and was very impressed.

Then came, "Chronicles of EMS". Originally called, "The Project". Two EMS bloggers, Justin Schorr ( a paramedic with the San Francisco Fire Department, and Mark Glencorse ( from England, worked with Ted on the idea of working within each other's EMS system while blogging and filming the event. The result is the movie, "Chronicles of EMS" which will premiere in San Francisco on February 12th. I had the good fortune of meeting both Mark and Justin along with Chris Kaiser and others at a Tweetup in San Francisco recently. I'm looking forward to seeing them again at the premiere along with more EMS "movers and shakers" than have ever been in one place. The invitation said,
"This will premiere the pilot episode of "Chronicles of EMS" to the world. Where social media and television meet in an unprecedented first of its kind audience participation WebTV original series set in San Francisco. We will bring EMS Professionals from around the world together to network and inspire the future of the industry".

The following day we'll be filming a new venture called, "A Seat at the Table" which will involve discussions of current and relevant topics which will be it's own series. I was honored to have been invited to take part in this.

There will be much more to tell you about, but I'll save it for another day. Am I excited about this? ... hell yes! I've always believed in "Don't complain about it unless you have a solution". These EMSers have found that solution through blogging, podcasts, and video. I really hope the EMS world is paying attention, because it's about to change for the better!

Lastly, what I want this blog to be is a place for EMS folks, firefighters, law enforcement personnel and disaster workers to share stories about their professional lives and the things they most care about. Please link this to your blogs and your social media sites, and add a story or start a discussion thread. Stories produced in written form can also be podcast on iTunes to reach a larger audience if you like. Let me know what you think. I'll look forward to hearing from you!