Street Survival the EMS1 Way

Anyone who knows me or spends any time perusing this blog knows that I feel that scene safety and the wellbeing of those of us who work in this field is the most important thing there is.  As a supervisor, my first goal is to make sure every single one of my employees goes home to their families at the end of the day.  They might not go home on time all the time, but I need to make sure that they go home.

This past week I had a chance to attend the EMS1 Street Survival seminar put on by EMS1 and Calibre Press.  The program itself was created from the principles developed as part of their law enforcement scene safety class.  Much to my excitement, the class was taught by Mike Taigman, someone who I have a great deal of respect for.

Prior to the class, Mike conducted an online survey that revealed that a quarter of EMTs responding had been involved in a fight or violent altercation with a patient.  75%, however, reported that as a result of those violent altercations they were injured in some way.  These numbers are unacceptable, and the need for training and education is evident.  The focus on the class was not to teach a “rip ’em up, tear ’em up” fight with everyone mentality.  While physical resolution of a conflict was covered, first and foremost, avoiding such a conflict was the priority.

Day one dealt with coordinating these scenes and acting as the eyes and ears while someone else makes patient contact.  The focus was awareness: be aware of who is there, be aware of how you got in to the scene (out doors or in doors) and being aware of how to get out of a scene.  The videos and photos, actually and staged, that were shared during this first day were geared towards being focused on those little details that one might encounter.  How would you approach a certain scene?  What windows need to be watched?  How should you enter a house to best appraise what sort of situation you are walking into.

When it comes to verbal communication in an escalating situation, the belief that if people like you, they will be less likely to become aggressive is the focus of the class.  Techniques like L.E.A.P.S. which stands for Listen, Empathize, Ask, Paraphrase and Summarize are featured, with a goal of deescalating a situation rather than feeding it with one’s “inner idiot” as Mike put it.

Day two dealt more with the hands on, patient contact aspects of a call.  The class covers in great detail the importance of building a weapons search into an assessment.  That is not a knock to law enforcement; it is more of a reflection on the need to take one’s own well-being into their own hands.

Excited delirium, Autism, medical complaints, and the psychotic patients were all topics of discussion on day two.  The class itself goes beyond dealing with the actual dangerous issue and moves on to the causes of it.  Mike and Calibre Press are clearly firm believers that situations are better dealt with when they are fully understood and they make it their commitment to give the student all of the information that they can to accomplish that goal.

What about weapons of opportunity and the things that we bring to work that could be dangerous?  The class covers this as well.  One of the keys to our safety is making the environment we CAN control as safe as possible.  This refers to not only the back of the ambulance, but also what we carry on our person.  Do you wear your sheers in your belt?  Can your knife be identified by the clip on the outside of your pocket?  You might want to rethink that.

As an instructor, Mike Taigman has a lot to offer.  He is incredibly knowledgeable, and does a great job of keeping the audience’s attention.  His power points are filled with relevant information, plenty of examples in the form of pictures, and an equal number of great videos.  Most importantly Mike has a number of stories from his long, 38 year career in EMS.  His ability to share these stories gives the student a second person perspective on some incredibly dangerous scenes.

Street safety is one of the topics that does not get nearly enough attention in EMT classes, paramedic classes, or in a continuing educational forum.  This class, however, is sixteen hours of great information that everyone needs to learn.  Nothing is more important than keeping yourself and your partner safe.  Our families want us to come home to them after our shifts, and it’s up to us to keep ourselves safe for them.

Calibre Press and EMS1 are planning on offering this seminar at many different venues the United States in 2012.  I highly recommend this class to everyone, whether you are a brand new provider or a seasoned veteran.  Everyone can take something from it.

Thanks to, Calibre Press, the team at the American Military University and most of all Mike Taigman for the hard work they put into putting the seminar together.

For more information about scheduling Calibre Press’ Street Survival seminar to your area or if you would like to attend one of their upcoming seminars please contact Megan Gravley at or visit their website at http;// for a complete list of their available classes.

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