Happy Medic’s 12 Days of Christmas, #HM12DoC

This series of posts was inspired by a number of friends of the blog on an afternoon in late November.  While Chris Kaiser had recently posted an article about what changes I would ask my medical director for, I was mixing a few posts together about some interesting jobs I have run in the last few months.

With that fresh in my mind I was having a live video chat with some of the Chronicles of EMS followers when @ChicagoMedic on twitter posted the Happy Medic’s 12 Days of Christmas in two posts:

“12lead ekg, 11 bls calls, 10mg morphine, 9 homeless psyches, 8 asthma attacks, 7 OB’s crownin…”

“6 priapisms, 5 golden hours, 4 fibbing V-Fibbers, 3 Triple 0’s, EMS 2 point 0, 1 British man.”

When I finally wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes it occurred to me that these three things I was pondering fit nicely together.

So over the next 12 days, I will present the daily EMS topic from @ChicagoMedic’s tweets and why it is important in our field.

Each morning at 0800 PST, check in for another day in the Happy Medic 12 Days of Christmas!

Time to update your Disaster Plan

As you know, we invest in preparation.  Training, equipment checks, drills, studying, all leading to when the bells ring and we are expected to spring forth with knowledge and actions that seem natural to the casual observer.

However, most of us leave all that preparation at work and come home to a completely unprepared family in case of disaster.  This is the reason I developed my own Family Disaster and Evacuation Plan.

Included in the plan are a number of instructions for my family, and me, on where to shut off utilities, how to shelter in place, who to call for help and what to take and where to go if ordered to evacuate.

As part of the plan, my family keeps on hand a 3 day supply of food and water.  You may remember a brief overview of the contents from the 60 Second lifesaving tip before Episode 6 of Seat at the Table.

Well, it’s that time of year to go through the kit and donate all the foods that will be expiring in the coming year and replacing them with new foods, updating your family’s tastes and needs.

If you would like to know more about how you can make your own custom disaster kit, click HERE to go to our Disaster Plan Page and learn more.

A Day with Motorcop – Part 3

OK, OK, I kind of cheated making Day 2 a podcast, but it fit nicely with what I wanted to talk about operations wise.

In our next episode we’ll be discussing our last detail of the day, but first I’ll fill you in on more of our day together.

The bromance was in full swing as we scanned passing cars for seatbelts, cellphones, and crazy activities.  When I drive alone, I often scream at drivers who do unsafe things and don’t seem to understand how to merge or yield.  MC gets to light them up and charge them for it.

We were returning to the PD so Mr MC could use the little boys’ room when we witnessed a car exiting the highway.  As she failed to stop at the red light to turn, a car coming the opposite way was making a left hand turn to go the same direction as she was.  Without even looking, the car making the left had to stop in the intersection as this woman cut him off.


And she kept going.  I almost thought we had another chase on our hands, but she eventually pulled into a parking lot.  After passing 3-4 safe places to stop, she finally pulled into a parking place which appeared to be near her place of business.  As MC approached and cited, I wondered if her co-workers would see us and comment to her later.

We cleared and MC was almost doing the pee-pee dance (which was impressive in his gun belt I might add) we were leaving the lot making the left hand turn mentioned earlier.  As we made the turn a van was coming off the freeway and did the exact thing we just cited the other woman for, and DIRECTLY in front of a police car no less!

Oh my these folks were stupid.

His excuse was that he didn’t see the turn signal on the police car and therefore did not feel the need to A)Come to a complete stop, B)Yield the right of way or C) Shut up when the officer has to scream through an open window for you to pull forward and over instead of waving him through the intersection as if nothing is wrong.

I was smiling the entire time I was out with MC and loved the autonomy he has to move from place to place and see what is happening.  It is just that kind of freedom that dispatchers love to take away from us out on SSM ambulances.  Sending you from 5th and Elm, 2 blocks to 7th, then telling you that posting on 6th is “Outside your response area.”

When I had the chance to work as the Paramedic Captain recently I found that autonomy and embraced it.  I would sit at trouble spots and wait for calls to come in so I could be first on scene and cancel the engine.  The buggy was posted a few blocks up from a tourist traffic nightmare making sure I can see if one of my cars decides to post down there (where they know they shouldn’t).  I even called a few crews on the old trick of being “delayed finishing paperwork” at the hospital by dropping in to see how I could help.

I did get to learn ALOT while riding with MC, including all the nifty new technology out there for our traffic friends.  There are new 3D imaging kits that let them collect data at the scene of a collision that can be rendered in a virtual digital environment.  Kind of like CSI has been doing all these years.

Another neat piece of equipment was the Lidar.  While Radar will use sound waves to confirm range and therefore speed, the Lidar uses laser light and is wicked accurate.  Radar will tell you something over there is going a certain speed, Lidar will tell how how far away and how fast the object is the little laser light is on.  This is a great tool for MC, since he can pinpoint a certain vehicle in a crowd and there is no guess work involved.  Little red light on green car, green car is traveling x speed at x distance away.

Even though MC was available for 911 calls, we only responded to one of those, the MVC we will cover on the Crossover Episode 4- A New Hope.

There were surely more differences than similarities between EMS and police, I knew there would be, but the people doing the job are more alike than I expected.  There are supervisors who could use a few more days on the streets, the over achievers, the hiders, the worker bees, the minimalists and those who exceed expectations, but we all lace up our boots and button our shirts with one thing in the fronts of our minds:  Going out there and doing what we love to do for people who have no idea what we’re doing.

A special thanks to Motorcop for letting me tag along in the car for a day.  I hope to reciprocate if the Captain’s gig gets a bit more regular.  I am curious to see what MC would think about big City EMS.

Take CoEMS and EMS 2.0 to Work Month Continues!

Many of you are supporters of raising awareness about our young Profession and could use some tools to help.

Below you can click on one of the images to open and print a PDF about both Chronicles of EMS and EMS 2.0. Print them out and put them up on the bulletin board at work, or on your supervisor’s desk, or simply share with the world in your own special way.

Then snap a picture and send it to us.  We’ve already seen EMS 2.0 at Monday Night Football, CoEMS on a fire helmet and an EMS 2.0 patch on an Army uniform.

Where will you take the message?
You can upload it to twitter (Please tag it #CoEMS)
Put it on the Happy Medic Fan page on Facebook (Or Chronicles of course)
or email them to thehappymedic@gmail.com

Prizes for pictures sent in will be awarded by both myself and Chris Kaiser from Life Under the Lights.

So get clicking, get printing and get sharing already.

Take CoEMS and EMS 2.0 to Work Month Continues!

Take me somewhere nice?

Our good pal Chris Kaiser from Life Under the Lights brought up an interesting idea the other day.

“Where has EMS 2.o and Chronicles taken us?”  and then asked an even better question:

“Where are others taking 2.0 and Chronicles?”

Show us.

Over the coming weeks I want you to show us how you spread the word about Chronicles of EMS.  On Saturday morning I will be publishing a 1 page PDF about Chronicles (and CK one about EMS 2.0) that you can put up at the station, yard, hospital, classroom, etc.

Take a picture of it with your phone and put it on twitter (Make sure you tag it #CoEMS) and if you can, add a geo tag to it.  I’ll use my superior computer skills to track where the message is going so we can see just how far reaching the message of Chronicles is.  Or just send me a pic at thehappymedic@gmail.com, or post it to the Happy Medic Fan Page on Facebook.

Put don’t limit it to the PDF.  You can order your #CoEMS stickers and show me your phone, laptop, window or wherever else you have the stickers as well as draw something on a dry erase board, or maybe a hand made page up at work.

Point is, we’d love to SEE just how you share the Chronicles of EMS message, as well as the EMS 2.0 message.

So, if it is after Saturday you can click HERE for the PDF.

But what good is something like this without prizes for the most creative sharing?

Categories are to be announced, but the prizes will include:

EMS Monopoly

Fire Monopoly

Chronicles of EMS Patch set (Including the one not currently for sale!)

Coverage for the cause of your choice

If you already share the word, show us!  I’ll be grabbing them as I see them and making the map.  if you want stickers, you can order them in the sidebar and for this contest FREE SHIPPING! Just mention “Where?” when you order.

So, where are you taking Chronicles of EMS?

Boots on the Ground in Dallas

Day 2 of EMS Expo here in Dallas Texas begins at the Hotel Lawrence, just a block and a half from the Grassy Knoll.

Noted EMS Jedi Master Thaddeus Setla and I are preparing for a full day of activity, most of it doing different things.

By the time you read this you may have already seen my videos on EMS1.com.  I’m filling in with the EMS1 team here at Expo to do some interviews on topics they wanted covered.  I’ll do my best to not screw it up.

When the show floor opens I’m back on the show floor for some more non-stop “Have you seen Chronicles of EMS?” and spreading the EMS 2.0 word.

Yesterday saw hundreds of people coming through the Zoll Booth with most of them stopping by to see what we are all about.  A few folks from England and Germany came by and were eager to wear a CoEMS T-Shirt on their travels abroad.

Last night’s FireEMSBlogs.com meetup was a lot of fun and it was nice to see a few of the fire side bloggers slumming it at an EMS convention again.  Might as well just give in fellas, it’s already almost 90% of what we do.  A topic for another time perhaps.

So I’m back to my cup of coffee, then dusting off the fancy duds for filming some interviews.

If you’re not here in Dallas you can still partake in a great game on twitter hosted by Zoll called Hide and Tweet.

On twitter, make sure you’re following @ZollEMSFire and follow the hashtag #hideandtweet.  Hidden on the show floor somewhere is an adorable little St Bernard puppy plush toy.  But, this being a medic show, of course pressing the puppy’s paws gives you infant choking and CPR instructions.  Very cool.

Oh, right, the game.

Every 30 minutes Zoll will send out a hint as to where the puppy is hiding.  If you use their map and follow the clues you can win some neat prizes…FROM HOME.  Yup, you don’t need to be present to win.

The Crossover LIVE

My brother from another mother Motorcop and I continue our back and forth between the boys in blue and the heroes in a segment he dubbed The Crossover.

In this most recent installment we knew the back and forth would be great, so I fired up the ambulance, hit the lights and ran a red light on the way for a coffee so we’d run into him.

Topics covered include continuing education for motors and medics, why he can let law breakers go with a warning and how I’m bound to take every Tom, Dick and Harry to the ER no matter what and the burning question: Why don’t motor officers wear chaps?

Episode 1

Thank for listening, more to come!

Seat at the Table Ep15 – San Bruno Cont’d

Our discussion with Dan Gerrard, Bobby Halton and Jow Telles continues in our special look at building relationships in Emergency Response.

Whether a Chief Officer or Probationary Member, all can learn from this discussion, have a look.

Chutes & Ladders

Playing this old favorite with my young children seemed oddly familiar.

Not because I played as a child, as my parents did, but because my Professional life feels just like this game.

Chutes & Ladders subjects the player to be awarded or punished, simply because of when and where they land and the severity of their punishment or height of their reward seem clear at the outset of the game.

If you land on a space that depicts doing something wrong, say throwing rocks, then you slide down the chute to a lower spot and have to start advancing again.  We all know throwing rocks is bad, but a few spins of the arrow later, we could find ourselves right back there, throwing rocks.  Or in the case of EMS, missing too many ETT placements, giving an out of vogue medication or the like.  But even if we get it taken away and have to start again from a lower level, that penalty chute still awaits us and instead of trying to remove it completely through education and training, some systems seem content at just spinning and hoping they make it past that chute.

At the same time, climbing ladders to achieve quick gain seems a good strategy, but so much effort can be wasted if a chance spin of the arrow pushes you past that ladder and you have to continue the game slowly.

And it is not just EMS, but the fire service as well that needs to be careful when climbing.  Decades of public attention and education have led to less fires, but those that do break out are far more dangerous than before.  A new fleet of engines is a nice ladder, but not training the engineers to operate them is a big chute to slide down when the time comes and no water reaches the crews inside.

Of course they’re hoping so hard to get more than a 2 to avoid the same chute, they don’t see the bigger chute just spaces away.

It can be easy to get frustrated when sliding down a chute and your mind quickly races to avoiding that next obstacle.

Rogue Medic reminds us that in EMS one must concentrate all their efforts on the patient at hand, not the one that might get away.  This is true when engaged in patient care, but in my system, where resources are stretched thin and patients are “getting away” I have to start looking at the whole board when not on a call.  My observations about the game are not in relation to care directly, but refer to the system’s response to trends.

Getting a grant for new bags, new monitors, or finally adopting CPAP can be a big ladder towards that glimmering perfect EMS system, but we must be mindful of the chutes at the higher levels.  Just as that big ladder brought us up, big chutes can drop us back farther than we were before climbing.

Heralding CPAP while your QI program is defunded is not a success.  A good ladder, but a bigger chute.

As the game progresses my little yellow figure is constantly sliding, climbing, sliding, avoiding, and minute by minute, eventually reaching towards the finish line at the top.  The other figures on the board have the same objective, but will reach it via a different path than me, different ladders, different chutes, same excitement and frustration.

But when the green player fell the farthest possible on the game board she warned the other players, “Look out you guys, don’t land where I did,” and I was reminded why this time change in EMS will take hold.

Your spin.

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Seat at the Table Success

We had a great day of filming yesterday in San Jose with disaster experts gathered to attend the Tak-Response conference which ends today.

Even though we have not yet found a sponsor to cover the expenses, this opportunity was too important to let pass.

The conference has been a lot of fun, with Thaddeus, Natalie, Jeremiah and Sam Bradley begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, the extended Chronicles family, all except Mark.
For a new conference in a new place with a new concept I think it did very well.

I think Kelly Greyson would have enjoyed the shooting simulator side by side with some of the SWAT folks on hand at the show.
And the law enforcement members we did meet were interested not only in what we were doing, but marveling at the wide array of equipment EMS carries, not just a bag and a cot.

Just the show floor was working to break down barriers and let disciplines mingle, imagine what the speakers are inspiring.

The audio difficulties in the filming of the Seat at the Table are well known, but finding a solution we can afford on a negative budget is difficult. We’re trying, I promise.

Today it’s back to the conference with the meetup tonight at Gordon Beirsch Brewery. See you there?