Last On: 12:54AM, 3 Jan 14
Skip Kirkwood
  • Male
  • Wake Forest, NC USA
  • United States
  • EMS Chief
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Latest Activity

Skip Kirkwood replied to Bill Eyford's discussion Helmets Inside Ground Ambulances
"The reason for that is pretty simple.  The "ledge" around the edge of the typical USA fire helmet provides a fulcrum for harmful leverage, allowing for more torque and extension of the c-spine.  The are also typically quite heavy…"
Mar 22
Skip Kirkwood replied to Kyle Czarnecki's discussion Anyone with information regarding switching from 24 hour shifts to twelves?
"I was involved in the 5-year transition of a large EMS agency from 24s to 12s, using the same schedule that Ben Waller developed.There is good, solid research out there that shows that at the end of the 19th hour, cognitive and psychomotor…"
Jul 28, 2013
Skip Kirkwood replied to Thrawn's discussion Looking for Agency policy - Do not carry cardiac monitor inside (leave in truck)
"Your monitor is just like your ballistic vest - you can't predict when you are going to need and when you are not going to need it.  It will be the time when you've left either in the truck that will cost you, or your patient, their…"
Jul 14, 2013
Skip Kirkwood replied to Jennifer Berry's discussion How important is patient satisfaction?
"I'm good with measuring patient satisfaction.  80% of what we do does not involve critical medicine, or in many of those cases, any medicine at all.  The services that we provide are (a) compassion, and (b) transportation.  We…"
Jul 14, 2013
Skip Kirkwood replied to Jennifer Berry's discussion Government-Run vs. Private EMS
"The headline and the narrative really ask two separate questions.Much EMS in the United States is "government-run" - it is provided by state (Hawaii), county, and municipal organizations, whether fire service, separate municipal services,…"
Jul 14, 2013
Skip Kirkwood updated their profile
Jun 24, 2013
Skip Kirkwood replied to JEMS Web Team's discussion Training To Clear the Highway Quickly
"This is a good program.  It does not compromise patient care or scene safety, properly implemented. One of the principles that I emphasize - "We can close the whole highway for 10 minutes and get out of here, or we can leave one lane open…"
Jun 8, 2013
Skip Kirkwood and Sal B are now friends
Jun 8, 2013

Profile Information

What State do you live in?
EMS Chief
Primary Agency/Department Type
Third Serv/Mun Agency
Primary Department/Agency Name
Durham County (NC) EMS
Years in EMS/Public Safety
Other Past or Current Departments
Wake County (NC) ESM
Area Ambulance Authority, Cedar Rapids, IA-Chief
Munroe Regional EMS, Ocala, FL - Executive Director
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, OR-Batt. Chief - EMS Officer
Oregon State EMS Division-Chief
Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, NJ-Paramedic
UMDNJ-EMS, Newark, NJ-Paramedic
International Life Support, Honolulu, HI
U. S. Navy Hospital Corps - HM2(SS) - Submarine Corpsman
My Training:
TEEX Enhanced Incident Management-Unified Command Course
Executive Fire Officer certificate, USFA
Chief EMS Officer designation, CPSE
J.D., Rutgers Univ.
M.S., Central Michigan Univ.
NREMT-P since 1983
About Me
Proud father of Elizabeth and Devin
Married to Natalie 26 years
Bagpiper and founder of the Wake & Distict Public Safety Pipes and Drums
IC/Planning Section Chief
Day Job
Career EMS officer, educator, consultant
I Love Being in EMS Because
it's a great way to serve the community, and because EMS people are great people!
Relationship Status

Skip Kirkwood's Blog

Situational Awareness, Scene Safety, and Prayers for Comrades

What a week. Friday a mass shooting in Binghamton, NY, and today three police officers killed in Pittsburgh, PA. Following the week when 8 were murdered in a nursing home in Carthage, NC. Please keep the families of the fallen officers, and our EMS colleagues who had to respond to thesescenes, in our thoughts and prayers.

So - how do we help to prepare ourselves situations like this? And how do we keep ourselves from becoming victims?

We probably need to spend some time,… Continue

Posted on April 4, 2009 at 6:29pm — 5 Comments

Embracing the "public safety" aspects - Steve Berry's closing keynote

In his closing keynote at EMS TODAY, Steve Berry (addressing public perception of EMS) urged listeners to adopt some of the professionalism of our public safety counterparts-- fire, law enforcement and the military. He believes we’re a mix of medical and public safety, but that in order to cement an image of EMS in the public’s mind, we should accept that the public affiliates us more with public safety than the medical profession, and we should work with that perception rather than against it.… Continue

Posted on March 28, 2009 at 5:00pm — 51 Comments

The EMS Labor Movement - or Lack Thereof? What's the story?

Many of the posts on this network site, and others, bemoan the plight of poor, overworked, underpaid, and under-respected EMS providers.

Yet, the EMS community does not seem to have an active labor movement working to improve this environment.

I must confess that I'm not a union guy - I'm a chief in a right-to-work, no collective bargaining for public employees state. So the situation probably works to my advantage - maybe. But I am curious.

It seems that much… Continue

Posted on February 14, 2009 at 12:39pm — 14 Comments

What research would help us do EMS better?

I was reading the March 2009 issue of Prehospital Emergency Care (for those who don't read it, it is the major peer-review journal devoted to EMS in the US).

I was excited to see, buried amongst the clinical and pseudo-clinical research abstracts, a few studies that might help us run our services better. One was a before and after study of the impact of implementing power stretchers in a large county EMS agency.

We've gt a ton of clinical research going on - the physicians… Continue

Posted on February 7, 2009 at 10:48am — 39 Comments

Creating a "culture of safety" in the EMS community

Hate is a strong word.

I HATE hearing about medics getting injured, disabled, killed in the line of duty.

Since I play the bagpipes and I'm a public safety guy, I go to more than my fair share of public safety funerals. It is distressing to see the impact of these mostly-unnecessary, mostly-preventable deaths on friends, families, agencies, and communities. It's hardened me a good bit over the years - to the point where I don't feel at all bad about dropping the… Continue

Posted on February 4, 2009 at 8:16pm — 28 Comments

Comment Wall (34 comments)

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At 12:55pm on April 11, 2012, John Crossett said…
Hey I have a question I think you may be able to help me with. But I don't want to make it public because I'm employer is on jems. Would you be willing to help me out? My email is I'd be willing and wanting to talk to you on the phone do better communication.
At 10:02pm on July 15, 2010, Nathan Stanaway said…
Sorry to hear about your heart surgery. Get well soon and take care of yourself. We all NEED you alive and making things happen! Hope your feeling better soon.
At 1:00pm on March 10, 2010, Marshall said…
Mr. Kirkwood,

I read your blog "What research would help us do EMS better?" and I was really intrigued. As a young, aspiring researcher - these questions fascinate me more than the clinical questions. I was wondering if you could provide me more insight (and from your experiences) into what would help administrators/managers/agencies "do EMS better."?

Kind Regards,

At 6:48pm on March 5, 2010, Tom Bouthillet said…
Hey, Skip! I was hoping to run into you in the exhibit hall but so far no luck! I attended Dr. Myers session today on APPs. Good stuff! You truly have an EMS system to be proud of. Hope all is well!
At 3:48pm on February 19, 2010, Dave M said…
Skip, I was reading up on your APP program and wasn't able to find anything on how your first year has gone. Have you published anything on it or can you give me an idea of how it went both operationally and clinically? It is a very interesting concept and I am very interested in learning more about your program.

At 8:51am on February 12, 2010, Daved van Stralen said…
Skip, you do not follow the typical arc of public safety officers who protect their careers in their final promotions. In the same vein as Jim Page and Ron Stewart (who I first met in 1973 and ’75 respectively), you use your depth of experience to create important improvements in EMS and direct your wisdom to support those new to our field. This will shape the future of EMS more than improving what we do. This will create a new field with a unique body of knowledge that requires a specific way of reasoning and thinking (epistemology).
At 3:23pm on February 10, 2010, Bob Sullivan said…
Skip, were you a corpsman or a corpse-man? The latter sounds scarry:)
At 1:54pm on February 10, 2010, Dave M said…
Skip, Thanks for posting the link on the story about the 17 year old. I'm going to a seminar on Documentation on the 24th and this is one of the big reasons why I harp on the subject. If you find others, please pass them on and I would be interested in learning the lessons that they teach.

At 10:19pm on January 18, 2010, Daved van Stralen said…
Skip, thanks for the compliment on my last posting about leadership. I wonder if leadership is an emergent property from several, multiple, lots of diverse behaviors. That would make leadership difficult to define but possibly easier to implement.

Where do we go from here? Tomorrow morning consider a few exercises that I find produce interesting results:
Work with your staff so they describe their findings in an articulate, objective, and succinct manner. You will have some frustrated people as objective is very hard to do.
Never make a final decision; they have to come up with the final answer.
When someone does something wrong think of three reasons they thought it was the right thing to do. Then make others do that in a group.
Later we can discuss if it is "Ready, Aim, Fire" or "Ready, Fire, Aim" and whether accuracy is more important than precision.
At 6:51pm on October 26, 2009, V-fibber said…
I'm looking forward to your lecture in Atlanta this week. I'll introduce myself to you after...Kevin
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