You Can’t UN-Learn EMS

Is it possible to forget some things in EMS? Sure.

But if you have spent the time and put in true effort. You can’t unlearn what you have built.

Now there may be times you have to refresh your memory or maybe you realize you have not mastered a subject in a way that you are confident.

But unlearn it? No.

Remember that if you give the effort, make the sacrifice and put in the work. You will always have the skills and knowledge you’ve built.

No one can ever take that away.



Claim your Insider Membership to Turbo Medic by joining the ranks here.

Personal EMS Math | Adding Up To Ten

It can be hard to be perfect, even for just one second. Sometimes things get out of control. Thats when you and your team matter most.

Sometimes you just don’t feel 100%. Occasionally the call or scene starts to get away from you. Knowing your teams strengths and weaknesses can mean success for you and the patient.


Get your Trial access to Turbo Medic On Demand by joining the ranks here.

A Peek Inside My New Ambulance

I did this FB live video below and talked about my new ambulance and some of the things I thought could be better. I also pointed out that nothing is perfect but adapting is important. Some on FB took that as a bitching session. I disagree. Watch it and let me know what you think.

EMS Study Guide

Check out the best resource to help you review for exams and allow you to focus on your weaknesses. Click here for details and to claim yours.

Laying The Groundwork For ECG Success

I’ve been messaging a lot this week about basics and building upon the fundamentals before getting into what can be the sexy stuff of many EMS topics. Here is a quick FaceBook Live video I did were I talk about this in regards to reading ECG’s. [Read more…]

Ever Ask Yourself Why You Are In EMS?

This is a guest post by Jason MacKenzie, NRP. I think he gave some great insight and opinion many will agree with. Check it out and leave your thoughts in the comments below.



Why did you take this job?

I have a bone to pick. I’ve seen a trend over the 20 years I have been in EMS. Firefighters work, love their job, take pride in it, maybe an IAFF sticker on their vehicle, maybe they wear an IAFF or department hat off duty. Police, go to work, love their job, take great pride in it, though they don’t advertise much off duty due to the fact that idiots abound and would likely vandalize their car, home or family. EMS……. we go to work, some love their job, most complain about running calls, many complain about move ups, and if you even think of putting a star of life window sticker on your car, or wearing a star of life hat, or t-shirt, you are the station joke! God forbid you have a waist pack that has basic tools of the trade within it, you are instantly known as Ricky Rescue. Why? Why on earth did you take the job?

When I became an EMT in 1997, I was excited. I was also planning to head towards the fire department as a career choice. After some time in the field, my desires changed and I realized I wanted to stay in EMS. Though the desire to run into a burning building still surfaces its head when I need an adrenaline rush. I worked as an EMT running mostly IFT calls (yes boring!!), I eventually moved into a slot within a busy 911 system in a major metropolitan area. I went to medic school. I loved going to work! And I’ll admit, I wanted to show pride in what I do. I occasionally found a decent hat or shirt with our Star of Life displayed. I chose to not buy it due to the fact that sadly the opinions of others mattered at that time.

I chose EMS because I didn’t know what to do with my life. I was working as a forklift operator in a PetSmart warehouse on the graveyard crew. I didn’t come from a family of public service workers, I didn’t grow up with crazy stories from dad about the calls he ran. I chose it because I wanted to do something with my life, and as I looked through the community college catalog “EMT” jumped off the page and sounded fun. I didn’t know I would love this job the way I do. In my career, I have worked the streets, I have worked in ER’s, I have been an instructor, and I have flown on helicopters. What I haven’t done is expressed the pride I have for what I do. I have allowed “the cool kids” to run their mouth and belittle those who show even an ounce of pride.

Our pride rears its head on occasion. A police officer dies, a firefighter dies, terrorist attacks happen, then suddenly our Facebook page becomes a memorial for 24 hours and then it’s back to ignorant comments. And we wonder why nobody takes us seriously? We complain on the very next call because it was a standard BLS call and didn’t involve arterial spray, mangled cars, and death. We complain because dispatch made an error and moved the wrong rig, or because another unit was 1 block closer to the grandma with abdominal pain at 0200hrs but instead we got the call. And lately, people are complaining about “no breaks to eat” on their 12-hour shift!! Are you kidding me?!?!

If you don’t like it, leave! Plain and simple. Maybe a job involving “would you like fries with that?” is more your style? Maybe you’d rather fold shirts for the display table at Target? Maybe that call center down the street is hiring? Or maybe you’re just not cut out for this job!

We claim we are a “family” when someone dies, or is hurt on the job. In reality, we are family when it suits us, and the majority of us have never once gone above and beyond to help those we call brothers and sisters. We have no respect for others in their beliefs, their way of life, and if they don’t fit in our small “mental mold” of what an EMT/Paramedic looks and talks like we instantly brand them. Lord help us if someone takes a small amount of pride in the private ambulance company they work for. Maybe if we step up our game, maybe our employers would see the need to step up their game. If not, then at least we have a leg to stand on when we try to fight for rights and benefits.

We must start working together to change the way we are viewed, the way we treat each other must change now! And we need to dig deep and grab hold of that pride we all had at one time. Being cool is no longer being the one who mocks the new guy, or mocking the one who does take pride in their work. Being cool is the one who comes in every single day, takes care of their gear/rig, is happy to be there, willing to take the trash out at the station, knows how to operate a vacuum, and has the heart and attitude to handle anything that comes there way (even when it’s not an emergency and you just drove Code 3 for 8 miles only to find out someone just bought a new home BP monitor and it hasn’t been calibrated yet).

Those of us that have been here for 20 years should not be complaining at all!! Our wages are higher (I started at $5.25/hr, how about you?), our gurney is now power (I learned on that aluminum Ferno with 537 pinch points….you?). We no longer have the Lifepak 5!! Those are now in the Smithsonian holding down the dinosaur display. Backboards are now a thing of the past. We have grown and improved. We have learned from mistakes. We have helped to train some in their new career choice. We have also forgotten why we came here in the first place!

I have recently returned to the field after a 3 ½ year break. My break was not from burnout, my break was to better myself and to take some time to really think about some personal things (I actually thought I was retired from EMS). Since returning, I have also realized after 20 years I had nothing to show for it. I had no photos of former partners or station mates, I had no ragged EMS t-shirt, I had no sweaty EMS fishing hat, I had no real connection to what I do. I had just the memories to talk about, and let’s face it, not everyone wants to hear those memories I need to talk about sometimes. I had no pride. I plan to stay in EMS for another 20+ years. I plan to further my career through education, volunteering, and being a voice that will change the culture of EMS. I plan to be alive to see the day EMS personnel are respected and respectful. I plan to be alive to see EMS personnel receive pensions and not just a simple 401(k). I plan to show what family looks like. I plan to be the change I want to see.

The Star of Life has meaning, 99% of us could not recite what each of the six points of the star mean, nor could we state what the Caduceus or Rod of Asclepius is (most are likely Googling it now). It’s time we represent that Star of Life in our own lives. It’s time we live a life worthy of that star. And, I’m buying a shirt.

Jason MacKenzie, NRP

Check out the new Turbo Medic PHD below and grow your knowledge base to succeed in EMS.

Turbo Medic Personal Hard Drive

The Arming Of EMS | New Top Salaries

This EMS Green Room episode talks about the arming of EMS and recent changes in top pay for EMS providers.


Ultrasound In EMS & ED Docs On Patrol?

AUDIO5I’m posting this first quick podcast to hopefully begin a new series. Sort of a supplement to the longer shows and my quick takes and tips in EMS. Not sure what to call it… car cast, EMS daily’s or just a Jim Rant.

Take a listen and let me know what you think about the show, topics and suggest a title for me.

If your agency ever strikes it rich and begins using ultrasound how will you know where and what to look for? Knowing A&P is a great start and IMO (humble yet accurate) vital “know how” in EMS, ultrasound or not.

Check out this great Anatomy course you can download to your computer. I have the details here.

A Focus On Raising The TXT Generation

txtgenIn this episode of Office Hours Jim sits down with Thaddeus Setla to talk about his project “Raising The TXT Generation”. While this may not be a direct EMS related topic, both Ted and Jim feel it does reflect in public safety and results from social media and children mixed together can bring EMS in contact with this issue.

Whether you are an EMS professional or a parent, get behind this project and show your support by clicking the link below and following the project.

Click here for complete details and short video on the Raising The TXT Generation project.

Follow Ted on Twitter here.


When Your Patient Uses 10 Codes

I am going to tell a story here. One of those “it happened on the ambulance” stories.

ambrushblurSo, while on a call of an assault I am treating this patient who was in a fight along with about 5 other people. She said she was jumped and that her assailants used pepper spray on her and she couldn’t see, although five seconds before she was waving at us as we pulled up to the scene.

So, I treat her as any patient I have, irrigating her eyes and making a general wet mess in the back of the ambulance. Now of course she is hysterical would not hold still on the stretcher and saying she couldn’t breath, that her heart stopped one time from not breathing and any number of complaints in her post assault/fight hysteria.

Yes she was breathing fine and her vitals where good and all that other stuff you might be wondering about that could fit her into a zebra category.

My main reason for sharing this rather basic story is that as soon as her eyes where irrigated enough so she could grab and use her cell phone she makes a call and says “Hey it’s me, Code 10, so and so just jumped us and tried to kill me, Code 10.”

At this me and my partner looked up at each other. Wondering just what a Code 10 was.

She said that to whoever she was calling about four times. “Code 10, code 10″

I wanted to ask what it was although I pretty much could guess what a Code 10 in ghetto call signs meant.

But did Code 10 mean;

Get here with fists and hair pulling
Knives and chains
Guns and …

No matter what it meant, I wanted to be away from the scene. I didn’t know how far away the Code 10 was, when it could happen and the added comment to me about how ” busy” I was going to get as per the patient made me want to be clear from the area as soon as I could.

Of course, she refused transport despite her breathing complaints and her easily stopping heart. Even with my encouragement to go to the hospital thinking maybe that would delay any Code 10 that was coming.

She signed any appropriate paperwork and even though recently blinded jumped off the ambulance without assistance. Leaving me anticipating the mysterious Code 10 for the rest of the evening.

I did go and tell the police officers at the scene about her phone call so perhaps any heads up they could have regarding the impending Code 10 might be beneficial.

Luckily no further events from that scene occurred that night. At least not that I know of.

But I took away from the call a reminder of the dangers that we as providers encounter each day. That a simple call with a secret Code could mean more danger, more patients and a scene that was safe becoming unsafe.

A reminder that we have to be alert to these phone calls and to always have that situational awareness. Especially with what in my opinion is a growing lack of hesitation to assault and involve EMS providers in violent encounters.

Stay safe


EMS Week Show aka Jim Bitches About It

EMS Week 2014 has begun. Oh the fun, prizes, days off and benefits of being an EMS provider are finally bestowed upon us all.

Or – it is business as usual and the one week that is named EMS Week is shared with other events, requires us to be on a week long public awareness campaign and often is overlooked by even our management.

Hey we are not looking for too much, but maybe just like during Nurses Week you see posters and ads that say “Thank a nurse”. We could have something similar. Instead of lets show the public the ambulance, teach first aid or CPR for free and make sure we get to the ED to maybe get a free meal before the rest of the “EMS” peeps get it all. (Rest of EMS meaning ED techs, nurses, docs and housekeeping).

Join us for your EMS week joy installment.

Register for the EMS Week Giveaway Event here

EMS Week 2014