Syndicated Columnists

Are You Stuck In The EMS Pipeline?

EMS Office Hours Podcast - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 12:18

Life kinda puts you into pipelines. You enter one way and expect to eventually come out the other end another way. Like school for instance. You start high school or college a freshman and expect and work towards the goal of senior and graduation.

EMS is no different in that we also end up in a pipeline. However for many of us, we get stuck in it along with a lot of others making seeing and working towards that end, that goal much harder.

This weeks episode talks about this and gives some insight on getting out of the pipeline. More importantly how to be ready when that opening shows up.

Take a listen and be sure to click the Itunes button below and leave a quick rating or review.

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Let’s make a deal

EMScapades Cartoon - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 10:25
Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

A Firefighters Outrage is a little different

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Wed, 10/18/2017 - 08:02

Am I outraged by Donald Trump?




The Clintons?

Hell no.

A bunch of football players taking a knee?

Far from it.

The number of Me Too’s on my Facebook feed?

Not surprised or outraged.

I save my outrage for the kids I’ve seen burned with cigarettes, raped by their babysitters, women beaten, tied to chairs, murdered by husbands, teens shot to death by other teens who live on their streets, newborns stuffed in trash bags and hidden under a bed, middle aged men with self inflicted bullets in their heads, mangled dead bodies in demolished cars, killed by drunk drivers, cold white skin on cold dead addicts with needles still in their arms, drunken men pissing on park benches where little old ladies sit to rest…

Outraged by people in the news or other people who claim to be outraged over the outrage of the day?


Categories: Syndicated Columnists

The station food thief

EMScapades Cartoon - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:27
Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

Sharing the Spotlight with the Ramones!

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:15

I stepped into The Warwick Public Library this morning, it’s where I do most of my writing for publication these days, and lo and behold, there it was, The Ramones, and me, sharing the spotlight. Who says dreams don’t come true!

It’s 1977, I’m fifteen and inside The Living Room, a Downcity nightclub with a bad reputation. Drugs, fights, debauchery-the kind of thing that sucks any self-respecting high school kid in the seventies right in. It’s late, I had concocted an elaborate ruse to get the night off from the family, which by today’s standards didn’t need to be all that elaborate, what with no tweets, Facebook, cell phones and GPS we were pretty much able to lead the life of our choosing without much interference.

This night, a week before Thanksgiving, everything changed.

I’m surrounded by people much cooler than me, dressed in black leather jackets, torn blue jeans and t-shirts. It’s mostly guys, but the girls there were just my style, a little dangerous, reckless and totally out of my league. I’m milling about, getting a feel for a world that was completely new to me, this being only my second time here, last week being my first. Steppenwolf played that night, they of the famous Born to be Wild, and all that went with it. Tonight’s crowd is edgier, more vibrant, There is electricity in the air, I can feel it and have no idea why.

Midnight. Closing time is at one. The crowd is getting restless. I’m getting worried, it’s a school night and I have to show up the next morning or my entire fabrication of the night’s events will be exposed for the lie that it was. I can’t leave though, just can’t. Something is about to happen and I have no idea what but absolutely cannot miss it. The house lights are dim, a cocktail waitress gracefully slides through the crowd that has grown to capacity now, people shoulder to shoulder looking forward at the stage. The waitress finds me. Again. I’m almost out of money but I think she likes me so I give her five dollars for the two dollar draft and tell her to keep the change. I’m rewarded with a smile that stays with me to this day, thirty-five years later. Money well spent.

A chant begins from the back of the room, now packed with a thousand people. “Hey, Ho-Let’s Go! Hey, Ho-Let’s Go! Hey, Ho-Let’s Go! Its contagious, I join in, somehow making it to the front of the stage without spilling my beer. The chant continues, I’m shouting Hey, Ho-Let’s’ Go! The lights go down, it’s pitch black. The crowd erupts. A roar louder than any I had heard at any Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Steppenwolf or Foghat concerts I had been going to. Four silhouettes take the stage, the crowd gets louder, somehow.

Above it all come the four words that changed everything, Dee Dee Ramone gets things rolling..


The lights come on, the crowd goes crazier still, pandemonium breaks out on the dance floor, my beer goes flying and I am in the middle of the original mosh pit, where I stay for the next hour, lost in blissful happiness as the Ramones crank out one two minute song after another, never taking a break, just letting it roll.

Then they left. A fifty minute set that left the crowd exhausted, covered with sweat and completely satisfied.

I asked for a black leather jacket for Christmas. Some days I wish I still had it, and could wear it just one more time and let everything go.

And here I am, Forty years later. Me and the Ramones, together still!

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Buffalo (NY) Police Officer Craig E. Lehner Missing, Presumed Drowned

Bill Degnan - Sun, 10/15/2017 - 22:13

We are following the dive search and recovery operation for Buffalo (NY) Police Officer Craig E. Lehner, who disappeared while under water during a training exercise in this Niagara River.

The words spoken by co-workers paint a picture of a man, whose loss is already being deeply felt on both sides of the Niagara River.

The efforts to find Officer Lehner include personnel and equipment from multiple agencies throughout the region. Those efforts have been complicated by weather, strong currents, lack of visibility, countless underwater obstructions and the vastness of the search area.

Those of us who have worked around such dive operations know that this mission quickly transitioned from search and rescue to search and recovery.

To his family, his brother officers (including his K-9 patrol partner, Shield): we feel your loss.

Suggested Reading:

Police dog runs river -- fierce loyalty missing officer

Search continues third day missing police diver

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Going to Find Out

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Sat, 10/14/2017 - 07:58

I don’t know if people like me–people who are trained to respond and are confident in their ability to do so–see mass casualties differently than most. When I see images from the latest disaster, terrorist attack, or mass shooting flash across my screen, my eyes are drawn to the rescuers, not the victims. I focus on the job at hand and the people doing it. I wonder what they are thinking, how they are managing, what emotions they are ignoring, and how they will cope.

I think of the people behind the uniforms and the mass of chemicals that are accumulating in their bodies; the adrenaline, cortisone, dopamine, and others I do not remember that give them the fortitude to perform in horrific conditions. I remember stepping over bodies of obviously dead people to get to the living, how sometimes I had to lie across a body to get to a victim, and waiting for the hydraulic rescue tools to free us. I remember thinking I was okay, it was part of the job, we all do it, we all survive, and we all do it again.

Little did I know I would never forget.

If who we become is a direct result of what we have done, it is imperative that we focus on the lives we saved, not the ones we stepped over. I do not see the face of the guy dead in the driver’s seat anymore; I see the girl in the passenger seat who survived. I even remember her name. The body is just that, in my mind anyway; I cannot think of him, I don’t think of him, he is gone, and we are not.

If there is one thing I know better than everything else, it is this: What we do may not define us, but it certainly shapes who we become. Our personalities are fluid; we never stop changing. Life experience changes us subtly; we do not notice those gradual shifts in perception. It is only when looking back, often through the eyes of the people who are actively responding to emergencies, that everything becomes clear: We are not hard; we are not machines; we are not tools to be used, put away, and used again until there is no more life left and a replacement is needed. We are human beings, made exactly like the people who need us.

It is human beings who have to be there when things get ugly.

And if not us, then who?

Who will they call when the bullets are hitting their targets?

When they are hunkered down, bleeding, dying.

When sirens in the distance are the only thing they have to hold on to.

When all is lost.

Who will they call?

They call us. First Responders. The Army isn’t coming, the Marines either. It’s their neighbors who respond, their fathers, their sisters, their friends. It’s the people they see at the market in their street clothes, the ones standing in line with them at the coffee shop, and the ones on duty, in uniform and prepared for the unimaginable. When their world descends to madness and nothing makes sense, we respond.

We are everywhere we are needed, nestled in neighborhoods, patrolling the streets, sitting on corners in our ambulances waiting for the call. We are in the crowd that comes under attack, never really off duty, once trained and experienced it matters not when we are needed, only that we are.

Most of us will never be called to a mass casualty or be present when tragedy strikes. All of us carry with us the know-how and presence of mind to act in an emergency. None of us wants our training, experience, and demeanor to be needed.

This time it was Las Vegas. Every time it’s the police, the firefighters, and the EMTs running toward the gunfire. Somehow we make careers out of it and walk among our families, friends, and neighbors as if we are just like everybody else. But deep down I think every one of us knows that we are different. And if we don’t know it now, we will definitely find out.



Categories: Syndicated Columnists

In the beginning…

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:29

“Welcome to Providence,” my training officer said to us, sixty-four trainees all about to begin a career in the fire service.

Some of us had experience, some did not. We were told to forget everything we knew or thought we knew about the vocation we had chosen, because now we were going to learn things “the Providence way.”

Most of us made it out of the academy, and many of those who did made it another twenty years and retired. Some were injured and had to leave before they were ready, some of us are still working twenty-five years later.

image by Eric Norberg

New faces are introduced every few years, trainees become probies, probies become firefighters, firefighters become officers, and some of those become chiefs.

One thing remains certain: every person who raises their right hand and takes the oath of office is from that day forward until the day they die a firefighter.

While never forgetting who we were before, we know that we will never be the same. It is an honor to belong in the fire service, not because of who we are as individuals, rather because of those who came before us, and wore the uniform well, worked, lived and sometimes died doing the job.

At the end of the day, when the smoke has cleared, and the fires are out, and we make it home, we can rest easy, knowing that others like us are on duty, keeping things safe.

We know this because we live it, every second of every day, for life.

from my new book, Rescue 911…

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Finding the joy: Job satisfaction in EMS

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:27
A strange thing happened during our first of four Regional Meetings for the EMS Agenda 2050 project. The setup is that everyone who participates is involved in a series of dialogues with members of the Technical Expert Panel. Each of these dialogues is focused around a question designed to provoke creativity and inspire visionary thinking. The topics include person-centered system design, inherent safety ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

6 ePCR best practices

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 10:19
By Mark Flauter, EMT-P Computerized documentation is commonplace in EMS in 2017. It’s difficult to find a service that isn’t using a documentation program to prepare an electronic patient care report (ePCR) or electronic health record (EHR). Just as there are a variety of EMS providers, there are a variety of documentation programs. Most of the key information required by the individual ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Transporting SNF residents: Choosing the proper payer

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:58
By Amanda Stark When you transport a Medicare beneficiary, you should always bill Medicare, right" Wrong! There are times when the bill should instead go to the patient, a group health plan, hospice, a hospital or a skilled nursing facility (SNF). The key to compliance and proper billing is evaluating the transport and determining which payer is responsible. Any time you receive payment from Medicare ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

EMS budget planning primer for new paramedic chiefs

Syndicated Columnists - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:48
By Dianne Wright Local government budget processes may seem daunting at first, especially for new leaders whose focus has just recently shifted from EMS operations and patient care. Whether you recently took over as chief or just started your EMS career, learning more about local budget processes is critical to being an advocate for EMS in your community and advancing your career. These three simple ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists


Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 09:37

The best time to kneel down is when you are helping somebody up.

Did a lot of kneeling during my career, damn proud of those moments.

photo credit Eric Norberg


Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Peer support for EMS provider mental health

Syndicated Columnists - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 09:22
"EMS practitioners face challenging and traumatic events that can impact their mental well-being each and every day. The mounting effect of patient needs, family, long workdays, nutrition, physical health, and sleep deprivation all contribute to an individual’s sense of wellness." — National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Scenario: An EMS crew is called to an infant ...
Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Rescue 911 released

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 08:11

Available today!

The stories in my new book were written either in the cab of Rescue Co. 1, an Advanced Life Support ambulance with the Providence, RI Fire Department, or in my little office at the Allen’s Avenue firehouse where Rescue 1 was quartered with Engine Co. 13.

They have been in different stages of completion for a few years now, some were blog posts, others articles for various publications and others simply written and just waiting to be read.

Everything in the book happenned during an 18 month period when I was working a lot of overtime and my brain was charged with adreneline. I didn’t sleep much then, was kind of wired I guess, reading these stories reminds me of how intense that period of my life was.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

Scoop and run?

Michael Morse - Rescuing Providence - Mon, 10/09/2017 - 12:43

He’s having a heart attack, so he had his wife drive him to the ER. He’s forty-eight, no history, but smokes like a fiend and has a drink or three every day. He’s pushing 300 pounds, and “knew this day was coming.”

They made it to the hospital parking garage where he could go no further. His wife called 911.

It was 0655, five minutes before shift change. The engine company arrived first, waited for the rescue to load him up and take him 100 yards to the ER door. Some of the guys were not all that interested in the patient, shift change and all, and he was in the parking lot fee heaven’s sake!

I decide to work him up, the whole deal, IV, ekg, 02, asa, nitro. Even his wife thought I was an idiot.

“Just put him in the truck and get him to the “real doctors!”

My own people agreed.

Sometimes it’s nice to be a stubborn old Swede. It doesn’t hurt to have twenty plus years experience either, but even if it was my first day, the patient needed immediate cardiac care, and who better to give it than us?

We had what he needed, and there was no waiting. Ten minutes later, we wheeled a nearly unconscious patient into an ER waiting for him, room ready, cardiac team alerted, cath lab waiting. The patient had two IV’s, 02, two nitros, 325 mg of aspirin and a heck of a better chance of survival than if we had scooped and ran the hundred yards.

Categories: Syndicated Columnists

You only live once boys.

EMScapades Cartoon - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 17:09
Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists

You only live once boys.

EMScapades Cartoon - Fri, 10/06/2017 - 12:47

New comics every Tuesday and Friday!

Categories: EMS, Syndicated Columnists


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