Happy FDIC!

I have arrived in Indianapolis for FDIC. After arriving late I got a text from pal of the blog Steve Whitehead from the EMT Spot.   In the sea of blue workshirts, FD T-shirts and hats was Steve and his cadre of friends. We talked as if we were all probies back in the day, instantly comfortable with stories, fishing tales and respectful disagreements on the quality of beer available at each establishment visited.

This is the side effect of FDIC that for too many has become the draw: Bars downtown overflowing with firefighters, scantly clad bar maidens and plenty of drinks.

Luckily for me, the nerd, our conversations went from training requirements, to wooden ladders to standardizing expectations on the fireground.

Eventually, and not long into the evening, Steve and I got that awkward question: “How did you guys meet?”

Our answer was quick and brought a laugh to us and a stare to them.

“Oh, we met on the internet.”


FDNY Deputy Chief Frank Viscuso’s class on his book Step Up and Lead. I hope to learn more about Fire Service Leadership traits (a theme you’ll see me chasing a lot this week). I chose this class based not only on the topic, but when the description mentioned “…elevate their ability to lead themselves and others.”

Friend of the blog Bob Atlas from Fire Alumni fame is presenting 11 Essentials of the Company Officer. Not only is it a great topic I hope to learn from but I’ll go and support my friend by laughing at his jokes and offering a familiar smile.

I’ve got the 1330 slot open for now, debating some technical suppression stuff to break up all this leadership training.

Hope to see you here!


PS, in case you somehow blinked…I’m presenting Friday.

FDIC image

Happy Medic at FDIC! Schedule Details

I have the honor of speaking at FDIC this year and am excited to share the details with you!

Classroom Session:

Social Media: The Rules are Already on the Books

Friday 1030–1215

Room 107-108

In a world swimming with social and sharing media, a chief officer may be inclined to apply a blanket blackout policy to social media. And he would be wrong! The focus of this class is to guide chief officers and company officers in applying pre-existing rules to new media, directing negative online actions into positive ones, and harnessing the power of sharing media for their benefit. Students are given the tools to apply the real world to rules already on the books and to understand the new generation and its desire to share  as well as the older generation’s reluctance to share at all. ALL LEVELS

I also plan on attending a number of classes beginning Wednesday and of course the end cap for the trip: INDY ON FIRE hosted by our old pal Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz

An EMS Expo Blogger Scavenger Hunt!

Here is a pic of a bunch of EMS Bloggers (and our ZOLL hosts) from 2011

Can you find them all in Baltimore this week?

If you find them, tag them and me (@thehappymedic) in a pic and throw it up on twitter.  Whoever finds the most gets bragging rights for at least a year and special perks at EMS World in September!


And if you are in this photo and don’t want to be found, better get to hiding!

Learning new things with old friends

I’m winging my way to EMSExpo today and am slated to speak on Wednesday afternoon on some CQI topics.

CQI Swapmeet

Session 711Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 3:00PM – 4:15PM

Room: 252
Track: Admin/Manager
Justin Schorr, FF/EMT-P

Since assuming the quality manager position with the San Francisco Fire Department, Captain Schorr has developed tools to track his system both clinically and operationally and looks to share those with other quality managers. Each one of us has a solution to a problem another system is trying to solve, so let’s share. This will be a guided discussion covering a wide range of topics including core performance indicators, dashboard design, operations and deployment tracking, GPS integration and much more. It will be an open forum and attendees are encouraged to bring printouts, thumbdrives and CDs to the session for all to share.

Each conference I go to it seemed the conversations at the end were almost as good as the original content, so I thought, why not have a session of discussion?

Then stay in your chairs for he next session about how I turned some basic data and a spread sheet into a tool to determine workload, peak staffing and design a new EMS system to address a mandated increase in market share.

How Busy Are We? Developing Benchmarks to Measure Workload

Session 811Wednesday, Sep 11 2013 4:30PM – 5:45PM

Room: 252
Track: Admin/Manager
Justin Schorr, FF/EMT-P

Possibly the most complicated metric to track in modern EMS aside from patient outcome is system workload. In late 2011, the presenter was asked by the administration of the San Francisco Fire Department how busy the ambulance fleet was. With no definitive answer, a year-long project began to establish benchmarks to measure system workload and optimize deployment, all while a regulator-mandated increase in market share was looming. Topics include basic system measurements, deployment models, presenting and trending data and how to beg, borrow and steal ideas from other EMS managers.

Aside from that I plan on stopping in on a few sessions Wednesday and Thursday and want to see every inch of the show floor. I won’t have my usual homebase at the ZOLL booth this year, so look for me on the move, #kilted of course.

Oh, and you’ll have a chance to meet the wife! Mrs HM is attending her first EMS conference this year and has no idea what to expect.

Let’s all make it a memorable one! See you at EXPO!

My EMS Expo Schedule

I’ve been getting messages on Twitter, Facebook and in the old fashioned email inbox (who uses email anymore?) about when to wear the kilts at Expo, will I be at the ZOLL booth as usual and how much are autographs going to be this year?

(Always free for you Dave Konig)


To answer all your questions would take more than 30 seconds and I don’t have that kind of time, so I’ll answer them all right here, right now.


Sadly I am unable to attend this year’s drunken romp through another City EMS EXPO.  This would have been 1 too many trips far, far away this year and with the new gig at work, time off gets complicated.


However, Mr Grayson has arranged for the 30th (tomorrow) to be kilted day at EXPO, possibly creating a tradition born last year in Vegas when we kicked off KTKC.  I will be kilted in solidarity here at HMHQ.

Learn bunches, network bunches more and let your liver know just what you think of it.  I would humbly ask that all my blogging peeps stop by the ZOLL booth to say hello and check out the Z series monitor, it fits in your pocket and updates the patient’s social media accounts as to their condition.  No, really, go take a look!


In all seriousness I’m going to miss all of you this year and hope I can make Baltimore (oops, DC) in the spring for EMS Today.

Lift a pint for me!

Overheard at the National Fire Academy

I finally took some trusted advice and put in for an EMS Quality Management class here at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, MD.  Well, it’s not A class, it’s THE class.

And I am loving it.

The different levels of experience and system types in the room lend for a giant melting pot of ideas.  Folks are actively sharing, borrowing and down right stealing ideas.


Sound like anything we’ve been striving for?


There are a few anchors in my class though.  Not the anchors that drag EMS down, but the anchors that recently realized they were doing so and are working hard to reverse the damage they have done.  There are young bucks like me, middle managers from the deep south and more than a few Chiefs from the northeast.

I’m referred to as the guy from the Wrong Coast.

Cool by me I suppose.

The lessons I’m learning here directly relate to my current (part of anyway) responsibilities at the CQI office and I am absorbing as much as I can.  And not a single clinical scenario to be seen.  There is something refreshing about an EMS class that, whenever patient care differences arise, we are reminded “That’s later” in this particular process.


This class is all about managing the quality of the system, looking ahead to spot trouble before it happens and realizing that if there is a problem, it is useless blaming the employee.

Yes, it is the system to blame.  The system that let them skate by, let their skills falter, let them hit the streets knowing full well they were ill prepared for what was coming.  All we did was wait too long to do something about it.  “No, Justin, Medic Bob is an idiot.”  Then what are we for letting him still touch patients?


This class is all about designing the processes to do just that, intervene as soon as an issue arises and solve the problem starting with the simplest solution, not necessarily something that has been done before.  A new breed of instructor lives at this level of EMS Admin instruction, one that looks for solutions not in intubation success rates and response times, but quality of a system as a whole.  A 5 minute response time and 99% first pass intubation rate is useless if your average patient in pain goes too long without relief.


But I heard something today that really made me realize that EMS 2.0 is not coming…it is here.


A student was sharing the fact that they were barely able to attend this class because their Chief was worried they would take the class, learn how to do things right and then leave.  The instructor stopped the class and said, “Tell your Chief he should be more worried that you don’t seek out education…and stay.”


I’ll let that marinate.

Bring on the Post Conference Let Down

Once again another great ZOLL Summit has come to a close and I have so many exciting things to take back to my system my brain hurts.

I know many of you think that means I didn’t get too much, but the trick is prioritizing.

Many of the data systems currently deployed by my agency are not being leveraged for their full potential.  Many of the reasons for this can be traced back to one problem in particular:


Moving data.


Many of the users I have spoken to are moving data reliably and are able to analyze it and act on it.  We have trouble moving data and as a result spend time we could be using analyzing on chasing data.

There have been a number of solutions presented, but a glaring system wide issue keeps us from moving forward and maximizing our efficiencies.

I attended a session today where the speaker talked about how to leverage technology to get your crews from a .4 UHU to a .44 UHU.



We’re averaging a .9.  If my crews had a .44 they’d probably throw a parade for whoever did it.

After the presentation I was approached by my counterpart at a large East Coast agency who wanted to know how we got so efficient with our field supervisors.  We’re all doing something great and need to share it.

Getting ready to head for the airport I wonder if my excitement about the small enhancements I can implement will get drowned out by the problems awaiting me back at the office.  I can only hope that because I have networked with systems who are succeeding where mine is struggling, we can work on solutions that are mutually beneficial.


We’ll see I guess, but first it’s the 14 day drive from Denver to the Denver Airport.  I’ll send up a beacon if we get lost.



I’m on my way to ZOLL Summit to speak about CQI, but mainly to learn more about the systems I am charged with monitoring. 
When I took my new job my predecessor had been gone for weeks and I had to learn as I went.  It will be nice to learn how it actually works.
In the past Thaddeus and I have done videos but I never had a reason to sit in on a 2 hour lecture about server queries. Now I can think of little else.

Kind of sad…

Anyhoozle, I hope to be sending out updates mainly so Mark Glencorse (I see you have a Google alert) can think back to the exciting week he spent in Denver when the volcano exploded, trapping him.

Sorry, that’s still kind of funny.

Updates as they come,

Happy Awards 2011 – Best Conference Event

A few years ago a couple of guys net up for a trans Atlantic EMS exchange. Maybe you heard about it. A big reason that happened was the early support of ZOLL Medical.

As part of their sponsorship in what Mark, Ted and I were trying to do they invited us to their booth in Baltimore, where we began to expand the #CoEMS family face to face. However, few realize, that the night before the conference we met for drinks with Charlotte and Blake from ZOLL to discuss what we all hoped to accomplish.

Being the social media whores devotees we are, we both tweeted our status and checking in on Facebook.  Literally minutes later we were joined by a few bloggers who happened to be in another part of the restaurant, saw our update and came over to say hello.

And that is how the ZOLL Pre Conference Blogger Bash was born.

Each year Charlotte and the folks from ZOLL but together a little event to recognize the power social media has in bringing EMS providers together and the sharing of best practices.  It is by far the best event at the conferences, even though it’s smaller and less flashy than some of the other fare put on when thousands of EMTs descend on these poor cities.

And in case you were wondering WHICH blogger bash I am referring to, it was a tie for Baltimore and Las Vegas.  And in 2012 I suspect yet another tie.


Thanks for making me smile ZOLL!  See you in Baltimore!