I apologize in advance for the formatting on this post, I worte it on the plane and wordpress’s HTML coding sucks so in the interest of spending more time with my now 4 year old, I give it to you raw.
“Have you met UK Paramedic Mark Glencorse?”
“Have you met Ted Setla?”
I have never before tried so hard to talk to people about something other than getting in the ambulance. It’s not easy to be a barker at these conventions.
Paul, who’s last name I am either forgetting or omitting for my own safety, from Zoll was the leader of the demonstration of the Zoll Rescue net system, who’s presentation was before Mark’s and my own.
He had great one liners and provoking questions that made passersby stop and wonder what the guy in the blue shirt was talking about. That was nice.
Just wandering the aisles at a trade show can seem awkward I’ve learned. As you wander, the folks from all the booths seem to come at you, quickly reading your name badge and asking you some strange question you’d rather not answer.
“What C-Collar does your system use?â€
“Well, shoot, it seems to change all the time, why?”and they’ve got you. And they’re good at it, that’s why they’re there.
At EMS Today Baltimore, the Chronicles of EMS team was invited by Zoll to speak about the reality series and where the movement might go.
Charlotte, our Zoll contact, had arranged for a large amount of T-Shirts to be available to conference goers and they were a big draw. Trouble was we didn’t have a space in the booth, or any booth for that matter. Not sure exactly what we were, how we were to interact or what to do, we did what all Paramedics do, improvise and adapt.
A false wall curtain moved, literature stored and a quick ironing of a half dozen shirts up on hangers and POOF! Chronicles of EMS “booth.â€
We were in front of the previously hidden storage room for the Zoll folks and they were constantly coming in to get more handouts and materials as they were quite popular.
So Mark and I took position in front of the 5′ wide gap in Zoll products and readied ourselves for the storm.
And this is where the really great part of social media comes in.
As faces approached we tried not to look at the name badges, but just introduce ourselves with a simple “Have you seen the Chronicles of EMS, the new EMS reality series?â€
Surprisingly, most folks who wandered by said they had heard of it, or seen something about it, and not in that “Oh, sure I’d LOVE to see pictures of your great grand children”way, but in a “Finally someone can explain this to me”way.
So right there in the booth Mark Glencorse had wrangled a power source and extra monitor to show the episode on a loop. And folks took a look and asked more about it.
A 17 year old EMT student from New York State saw it.
His father, a retired Firefighter and social media skeptic saw it.
And they both wanted to learn more about it.
That is huge.
What else was huge, in my book at least, was the number of bloggers who made the travels to gather in Baltimore for the largest Fire and EMS Blogger meet up in the history of man.
At one point a familiar face wandered over and extended a hand and I shook it. The voice that came with it was none other than Ambulance Driver. Before I had a chance to express my joy in meeting a true beacon in EMS blogging he stepped aside and introduced me to another beacon, Too Old to Work, Too Young To Retire (TOTWTYTR or TOTW). My jaw was on the floor. Having my face all over the show makes me rather easy to spot, but some of the most closely kept secret identities in blogging came forward and said hello. It was amazing.
Even more amazing though was how they stepped back when folks would approach Mark and I and say “I read all the blogs and meeting you guys is so cool.” Mark and I shared an inside glance, then looked 10 feet back and wanted to say “Do you know who is standing right behind you? TOTW and Ambo Driver! Look quick!â€
On the morning of the second day I was hurrying through the lobby of the hotel on my way to meet Mark to head for a full day of wrangling folks into the “booth”and share Chronicles. Coming my way through the throngs of high school students gathering for the Model UN Conference was the internet’s Red Headed EMS Stepchild, Chris Kaiser. As I said hello to him an oddly familiar face appeared behind him.
And something happened that would happen over and over again that day:
The second introduction.
You see, we really do live double lives. As I looked to the beautiful (and tall) woman I suddenly realized I was introducing myself to an old friend, Epijunky from PinkWarmandDry. We shared a smile and a hug as if we had not seen each other in years even though we had never met.
Friendships were not made here, they were experienced on a different level.
I offered a hand to a fellow approaching the booth with purpose, another man close behind. It was Fire Critic and Fire Daily, themselves having only met face to face after months of co-hosting a radio show together.
NateEMTB from twitter stopped by to say hello, as did MyrtLife and literally dozens of others who introduced themselves first with their names, then their identities. The names got a polite smiles, the identities a welcoming embrace.
Yes Mrs999 and MrsHappy, we did a lot of hugging. It comes with the territory.
But then there were the other folks stopping by the spot we carved out of the convention floor, a space not even big enough for 3 people to stand, so we stood in the aisle.
It was in this aisle that I had the first of many “Are you freaking kidding me?”moments.
“Hi Justin, Hi Mark. I really like what you guys are doing”said the brown haired man in the striped shirt.
“I’m Bryan Bledsoe.â€
I’ve said it in this forum a good deal of times, but this truly was a
And I was a fanboy all week. Dr Bledsoe wandered by a number of times during our stay and always had a smile and a handshake to say hello.
It may be a bit late, but if you hate name dropping and fanboyism, you should go read Motorcop because I am about to go 14 year old on you.
I carried my Firegeezer mug on the plane so the baggage handlers wouldn’t damage it. I carried it and a red permanent pen each and everyday on the off chance I would bump into Mike Ward or the Fire Geezer himself to get it autographed. And I did. Both of them. Yup, I’m THAT kind of fan.
Throughout the show, we met people involved in all aspects of EMS and each level seemed interested in what we were doing, both in the show, with the blogs, EMS 2.0 and just saying hello and talking to folks.
I can not select a single moment that was my favorite but I have collected a few that stand out from EMS Today in Baltimore:
Meeting the inventor of the KED, over a beer.
Introducing myself to the Chief of EMS for FDNY who replies, “Yeah I know you guys.â€
Talking systems allocation theory with an 18 year old EMT student from New Jersey (I forgot your name but if you read this email me, our talk is not over!)
Being interviewed by THE Dave Statter of Statter911.com who refuses to put me on channel 9.
When a twitter friend, 2 of them actually, accompanied other new friends to an Irish bar in the cold night air near closing time and then not letting me buy them a drink (I owe you squirrel and NJ)
Watching vendors realize the power social media has.
I can’t wait until Denver in April.