Hey everybody. The JEMS Games preliminaries just ended, and I can’t wait to hear the results. Who’s going to the finals?!? We ended up having 13 teams this year. Last year we had 25! (Yes, it’s that horrendous economy thing again.) But at least each team’s chances of going to the finals were much higher. That’s always nice. Anyways, I did some Q&A with two of the groups, and here’s what they had to say…
Virtua Health, based out of New Jersey, sent along Robert Gardner, Kevin Hess, and Dan Newman. This was the first time any of them had competed in the JEMS Games, or in any ALS competition for that matter. When I asked if they were nervous, I was surprised to hear that they were “relaxed” and looking forward to some fun. Liars! They had to be a little nervous. Come on!
However, they did say being a first timer was a weakness. Lucky for them, some of the returning teams were nice enough to fill them in on some general competition tips. But they said they weren’t lucky enough to get any “trade secrets.” Hopefully, next year they are kind enough to return the favor for another group of newbies.
As for strengths, the Virtua Health team unanimously said it’s their ALS care. Robert said, “Our primary focus is ALS.” Kevin seconded that by explaining: “Our agency is hospital based. We have special operations units, strong communication with hospitals, and many specialty centers, such as heart and stroke centers.” I’m sure this helped them on Station #5--the behemoth of a station where teams have to resuscitate a real, live manikin. This is the station where teams spend the majority of their time…but hopefully not too long.
Miami Dade was the other team I interviewed. Since they competed last year, I decided interviewing them after they competed would make for good conversation. They sent along Eddie Trapero, Manny Garcia, Alex Lozano (camera man), and Bernardo Bernardo (really! His name is that easy!). And they definitely had the Miami flavor going on…
They emphasized that they trained heavily for the competition. The only thing they couldn’t train for was the 175 lb. dummy. Manny said, “When you actually have that dead weight, it becomes a little bit physical and sometimes hard when your adrenaline’s running.” I’m sure the adrenaline can also help. To counter this potential weakness, they planned out which two members would be in charge of lifting the mannequin. I believe it ended up being the ones with the biggest muscles.
Last year they came in 6th out of 25 teams and got to be the run-through team for the finals. They said the final scenario was “overwhelming, but excellent.” We only give teams 20 minutes to enter the scene and administer as much care as they can. But they said the intense final scenario wouldn’t stop them from wanting to do it again this year--especially as one of the top three teams.
In closing, they said, “Whatever happens, happens. We stuck to our game plan.” I like the positive attitude.
Editor’s Note: I asked both teams how they would celebrate if they won. Miami joked, “Go to DISNEYWORLD!” They both said they would celebrate with their agencies and would welcome the positive PR. Miami said winning during this financial crunch would be a “big political move” and would show that they are being proactive.
One of the teams (I won’t give names =) ) said before all the professional stuff, they would celebrate with “liquid refreshments, like lemonade.” But we all know that lemonade would come straight from a guy named “Mike.”
Thanks for reading!