Featured Blog Posts (233)

Kudos to EMS Providers from an Empathetic Doctor!

Even though I am a doctor; specializing in Emergency Medicine --I never forget my roots in Fire/EMS. Quite a few of my physician colleagues scoff at the notion that I actually have a membership in JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services). They say/feel that being associated with EMS is a step "down" from the hyperbolic pinnacle and the highest level of respect physicians crave! Fire/EMS--what I academically call "frontline medicine"--is absolutely vital to…


Added by Raymond J Small, MD, MPH on October 7, 2014 at 10:26pm — No Comments

Why EMS Providers Do What They Do.


My new EMS Blog Site for providers, instructors, and managers.

Have you ever had a person ask you what you do, or how was your day?  As much as an EMS provider would love to respond, oftentimes, we don’t.  Why don’t we you ask?   Because if you had, this might be what you would hear.  I…


Added by Christopher G Graham on August 13, 2014 at 8:30pm — No Comments

Firefighter/ EMTs Daily Fitness Checkoff List

Be Physically Ready for Duty- Your Daily Fitness Checkoffs.

At the beginning of each and every shift firefighters, EMTs and medic meticulously go through and check their gear (or at least they should be) to make sure that it is ready for the challenges of the day. Our equipment must be functioning properly and our rigs must be fueled and ready to go. The question that I also want you to think about is whether or not your…


Added by Aaron Zamzow on August 4, 2014 at 11:21pm — No Comments

Newbie Paragod

Para-Gods.  It seems the newer and less experienced the paramedic is, the more arrogant and intolerable the tendency to be a "para-God."  Example:  Our paid-on-call fire department has made the transition to a paramedic level service.  Numerous new people were hired to fill the roster, including "MacGuyver," the subject of this story.  MacGuyver is a brand new paramedic.  He's smart and has an excellent memory.  He can remember what he's read, repeat anatomy, statistics, diagnoses, and…


Added by Street Level Paramedic on June 19, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments

Circling the Drain

An EMS instructor once told me that 90 percent of patients are going to live no matter what I do or don't do for them. Five percent are going to die no matter what I do or don't do for them. It's the other five percent that I prepare for with my training, education, and experience. You can argue about the numbers, but they seem to be in the ballpark.

Much of what we do is give rides to the hospital for people who prefer not to ask their friends or family to take them. Sure,…


Added by Street Level Paramedic on May 4, 2014 at 3:00am — No Comments

Experience and Success and the Student Paramedic

Late each summer, paramedics who were trained in the same program as I are invited to meet with the next incoming class of paramedics to provide advice on how they can successfully navigate the program and achieve their goals.  I always attend.  It's partly paying it forward, partly dedication to my program and my instructor, and partly schadenfreude (the German term for "experiencing amusement from other people's pain").

I stand in front of the group, look at their…


Added by Street Level Paramedic on April 8, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments

At what point does "abuse of the system" become more about a failure of the system to adapt?

At what point does "abuse of the system" become more about a failure of the system to adapt?

Once, in the past, I worked in a very busy urban EMS system. I was well paid, the trucks ran well enough, and the heat and air conditioning worked most of the time. I had a great partner whom which I compare all my subsequent partners to. I was a young paramedic working on the mean streets of a big city. What was not to love? I was living the dream. After a while though, I began to feel… Continue

Added by Nathan Stanaway on August 14, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Nationally Registered 'Road Doctor'

All of you out there who hold certifications know how much you want to show that baby off! Especially if you're not actually working in the field yet, just being able to whip out a card that displays your name and some language that you can save a life is a pretty cool parlor trick.


Below, I pose with my National Registry of EMTs certification card at the wedding of a couple that's a friend of JEMS. When the bride gets back from her honeymoon, I hope to jump in her ambulance…


Added by Jennifer Berry on July 11, 2013 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Cardiac Arrest vs Heart Attack

Added by Eric L. Astillero, REMT-D on June 13, 2013 at 3:42pm — 1 Comment

Day 32: And the Final Grade Is...

I am ecstatic to report to you all that I not only passed the class, but I got an A on both the final and the class.

An A is always a sweet reward for a job well done, but this one is even sweeter because I fought so hard for that grade -- literally and figuratively. I not only worked through a lot of troubles with learning how to study and how to manage my time as an adult student, I also fought with instructors over the semantics of quiz questions.

I did it…


Added by Jennifer Berry on May 23, 2013 at 1:00pm — 1 Comment

Day 28: Scenarios Galore

If you've been reading my blog this semester, you might remember when I first heard about the group scenarios we had to do in front of the class. (Could I Be a Trauma Junkie?) I was very excited, because they reminded me of the JEMS Games and seemed like a fun way to incorporate research, learning and coordination...and a…


Added by Jennifer Berry on May 9, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Day 27: Are We There Yet?

I don't know what has happened to our class, but it's like someone flipped a switch because we are all suddenly very over this class. I think the professors are too. In fact, I know at least one of them is because he told us so during last night's lecture.

It's nice to be in the home stretch. This has been a fun endeavor, and I've learned so much. I've become intimately familiar with what EMS providers do, how it feels to be on a BLS transfer rig, what the challenges with the…


Added by Jennifer Berry on May 7, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Day 26: Men Having Babies

If you're wondering about my LOC when reading my subject line, don't worry just yet. I'm referring to how realistic the male students in my class were when playing the pregnant patient in imminent delivery.

I know emergency delivery isn't a common call, especially for BLS providers in San Diego County. But I still took this non-testable skill in last night's lab very seriously because I cannot think of a worse position to be in than to be delivering someone's baby and be…


Added by Jennifer Berry on May 2, 2013 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Day 25: Ten Things I Learned During My Ridealong

This past weekend was jam-packed with EMS stuff since I had my ambulance ridealong on Friday and my hospital experience on Saturday. It was a tiring but awesome weekend. Both clinicals were fun, but in different ways. The ambulance had more downtime, but I felt more at home. The hospital had more things to do, but it was more self-directed.

BLS rigs in San Diego do mostly interfacility transfers, so we spent a lot of time waiting for appointments. I got some studying done, and…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 30, 2013 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Day 24: Ready for my Ridealong!

I haven't had writer's block since starting this class and blog, but I have it today. I think the reason is because I am preoccupied. I have my ridealong tomorrow and my clinical shift on Saturday, so my mind is elsewhere.

I am excited about both. I hope to have some good calls, because every time I have gone on a ridealong for JEMS or one of the newspapers I worked for, I have had the curse of the ridealong. One time, when I was riding along with the Glendale (Calif.) Fire…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 25, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Day 23: A Trauma-licious Scenario

I have said before, and I'll say again, that I think I'm a trauma junkie. I'm really enjoying all the gross pics in the textbook. More than that, I like being a detective in determining the mechanism of injury or trying to rule out (and in) reasons for a typically healthy person to suddenly become dangerously ill.

Luckily, my simulations group teammates agree. Our scenario is going to be a fall patient. Someone who got caught up in a gravity storm. I'm looking forward to us…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 23, 2013 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Day 22: Only the Strong Remain

With all the MCIs going on in EMS right now, with the Boston Marathon and West, Texas, explosions, I'm going to keep this blog short today.

We're in the home stretch of this class. We have just four weeks left.  A LOT of people dropped after the midterm. My side of the room is mostly empty chairs. We had 32 people take the midterm, down from my last count of 37. I have a feeling it's more like 25 now. There's a buzz in the classroom and lab that wasn't there before,…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 18, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Day 21: Boston Marathon Explosions & the Trauma Block

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon coordinating live coverage of the Boston Marathon explosions with our technical, enews and editorial teams. It was a somber day in the office, becoming more so as the event unfolded. We were bombarded with images of a bloody scene filled with debris from the two bombs that detonated at the finish line.

As an EMT student just embarking on the second half of the class -- the trauma block -- I started using each photo as a learning tool.…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 16, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Day 20: Could I Be a Trauma Junkie?

I always like to ask EMS providers whether they prefer medical or trauma calls. The answers are always interesting, and they're definitely well researched.

I thought I would prefer medical calls, but I think I might be a trauma junkie. Keep in mind, this is just theory, here. Perhaps when I get on a Kevin Ware-type call, I might just pass out from the gross deformity in front of me. But I think I might prefer those unexpected, load and go traumas. Come to think of it, I've…


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 11, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Day 17: It's Getting Warm In Here!

Monday night was my first night back in class after a wonderful week off. Not that I didn't miss my instructors, classmates and all those slides. I actually did miss them, and it felt great to get back into our routine after a nice break from the daily grind.

(What did I do during my spring break? Find out by reading my last two blogs about whiskey and …


Added by Jennifer Berry on April 2, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

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