Hi JEMS Subscribers,

I’m Wayne Zygowicz, JEMS Editorial Board Member and EMS Chief with Littleton Fire Rescue (Colorado). Have you ever wondered how EMS, fire service or rescue assistance is provided in other countries? What equipment, training and resources do foreign rescue teams use to provide service in other parts of the world? Now you’ll have an opportunity to get a snap shot of what’s available across the Atlantic by following my blog as I travel to Germany to see what new EMS innovations and safety equipment is available. This is an opportunity of a career for me to travel to Germany, land of castles and cafes, to attend one of the largest public safety conferences, trade fair and expos in all of Europe. I have always been interested in ambulance construction and EMS safety from 25 years of riding in an ambulance as a paramedic firefighter and researching and building transport units as the EMS Chief. My blog will be sharing the conference information with you, examine rescue equipment and vehicle innovations, uploading pictures and recounting my experiences in Germany (I speak no German what so ever) and the extra conference events.

I‘m one of thirty US delegates traveling with the EMS Safety Foundation to Fulda, Germany to attend the RETTmobile European Emergency Services Exhibition 2009 from May 13th through 15th. The EMS Safety Foundation is a not-for-profit “think tank” consortium and institute. The mission of the Foundation is to increase the safety of pre-hospital care and transport for the patient, the provider and the public. They do this by promoting and enhancing EMS safety innovations, research, knowledge transfer, education, and information dissemination. Check out the EMS Safety Foundation at www.emssafetyfoundation.org

The RETTmobile (translated to Mobile Rescue in English) conference is in its ninth year and is held in the small town of Fulda, Germany. The trade fair brings over 22,000 people and 300 national and international exhibitors to Fulda each year to present innovative safety and rescue products in the 13 exhibition halls on the nearly 70,000 square meter large fairground. The open areas have tests tracks for ambulances and off road vehicles, demonstrations by local fire brigades, the German Federal Armed Forces and even a flight simulator. The scope of the exhibitors range from rescue organizations (land, sea, air, mountain, and military), emergency and rescue vehicle manufacturers to medical device makers and partners to rescue organizations.

While we all like to go to conferences, stroll the exhibit floor, sip a few cold ones at the local pub, but I’ve been promised lots of hard work on this trip. After 14 hours of travel from Denver to Dallas to Frankford, most days will be taken up with workshops, training and meetings. Orientation begins Tuesday, May 12th, conference on Wednesday and Thursday and an interdisciplinary “Ambulance Design and Innovation” workshop on Friday, May 15th. I’ll be arriving as few days early to get acclimated to the surrounding and the time change and shake off the jet lag (I don’t fly well after 5 hours). The small town of Fulda has lots of parks, gardens and historic attractions and I’ll be photographing them and writing about them in my blog. Here’s a link to a Fulda web cam to see one of those historic sites www.webcamgalore.com/EN/webcam/Germany/Fulda/1623.html

I look forward to sharing my travels with JEMS readers. I promise this won’t be like dad's old home movies from the family trip to Wally World. I’ll be sharing more thoughts about the trip in the days ahead so watch for new blogs and updates. I’m sure this will be eye opening and I hope informative and enjoyable for you, the reader. I hope you decide to come along for the ride.

Here is a link to the RETTmobile 2009, in English

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Comment by Wayne M. Zygowicz on April 26, 2009 at 6:01pm
I look f orward to meeting you and your wife when you get to Fulda. I'm leaving on the 9th and arrive on the 10th. I agree, I look forward to seeing how things are done in Europe too. This will be lots of fun an so informative. See you soon....
Comment by Kevin W. Peters on April 26, 2009 at 12:40am
Wayne: I look forward to meeting you in Fulda. My Wife and I will be traveling from Virginia on the 11th. I really want to see how things are engineered and operate in Europe. They seemed to be about 10 years ahead on a alot of different concepts. Kevin P
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