Hey, Remember Me?

Well, as the title of this post suggests, I am back. I know, I know it has been quite some time since I have posted anything here, and it has been a lot longer since I have posted consistently but with EMS Today coming up this week, I decided to reopen the door to blogging and start writing again. For the last six months I have been focusing on a lot of aspects of both my personal and professional life. I have been teaching more, developing classes more, and just generally enjoying life outside of the blogging world. After writing for five and a half years, I guess that I just needed a break. I have spent the last couple of months writing for Dragons Speak, a blog about Drexel University’s basketball team in Philadelphia. As a present to my dad, a Drexel grad, I got us season tickets. Sports writing has been a good outlet, and has helped me break down some of the more serious setbacks that I have had with writer’s block over the last couple of months. I am sure that most of the other bloggers who are still out there and active will agree that writing is a labor of love. Unlike some, I don’t make any money from doing this. This website is completely self-funded and maintained. I write because I enjoy it, and I write because I am passionate about my chosen career. My main motivation for coming back and writing, however, is two-fold. Moving past my love for it and my field, I am not at all happy with the direction that the online community of bloggers has taken. While there are still the likes of Noonan, Grayson, and Schorr gracing this series of tubes that we call the internet with their thoughts and feelings on this field, there are others who have become more frequent contributors who leave me scratching my head. But enough of the negativity. Let’s get back to writing, right? Lately, EMS Compass has taken up a lot of my time, and with that coming to a close I plan on having more time to spend with a cup of coffee and...

Welcome Back!

Well the summer of 2015 is now behind me and it is time to get back to writing.  I have been doing a lot of traveling as of late both to Austin, TX for the EMS Compass project as well as some traveling for pleasure as well.  It was very therapeutic and frankly it was nice to get away from the keyboard for a couple of months.  It did, however, remind me of how much I enjoy writing so it is good to get back to that as well. I have a lot of ideas developed that I hope to roll out here over the next couple of months.  One of the biggest ones is I plan to include a few posts here and there that have nothing to do with EMS at all.  If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook you know that I can be pretty opinionated about some issues.  While I plan to touch on those on occasion I also want to talk a bit about life outside of EMS because getting away from the field can be just as important as what we do on the street. After over five years of writing, I feel like a break was exactly what I needed but rest assured, I am back!  Now, let’s get back to it. . . Share...

Some More Thoughts About Nightwatch

Some More Thoughts About Nightwatch

Feb 27, 2015

If anybody had any doubts about how the cast of Nightwatch would be received at EMS Today, all questions were answered at the first day of one of the largest EMS conferences in the United States. I got my first glimpse of the crew at the Physio Control booth signing autographs at the entrance to the exhibit hall.  For a second, I almost forgot that I was at at an EMS conference and thought that I was at ComicCon.  Here was the cast of a TV show entertaining star-struck fans.  But this was not Daryl Dixon or the cast of Firefly.  The group that was signing autographs are just regular people just like the rest of us. Later in the evening, the group made an appearance at Zoll’s Shockfest.  Once again, the marketing team at Zoll knocked this event out of the park.  There was great music, great food, cold drinks, and a fun atmosphere (shout out to Zoll’s Brooke Taylor who headed this one up yet again).  It didn’t take long for everyone notice that the celebrities where in the house. I cannot say enough about how the entire group from Nightwatch handled their fans.  As one would imagine they were mobbed.  At one point, it almost looked like a receiving line waiting to get their turn to say hello to Holly or Dan or whomever they had noticed.  Each of them were all smiles.  They were humble, they were friendly, and they were fun. Personally, I do not feel like I got nearly as much time as I would have wanted with this group, but I feel like I was in the majority with that.  I said my hello’s, tried to put a face to the bevy of tweets that I have sent out about the show (whether they put two and two together or not) and most importantly, I had a chance to thank Holly for shedding some light on my analysis of Gavin. After my review of Nightwatch a few weeks ago, some took exception to my assessment of Holly’s partner, mainly when I said that he looked to me like he was getting burnt out.  One cast member of...

Happy Blog Birthday!

Five years. . . Its been five years. I never thought that I would have kept this blog going for as long as I have.  There have been many highs and lows in the 357 posts that preceded this one.  I’ve been accosted by the main stream media, shared my struggles with starting over, interviewed the stars of the show Sirens, and even posted an obituary with the most notorious of EMS “super users.” When I started writing back in 2010, I viewed it as cheap therapy.  I always enjoyed writing, and saw the opportunity to blog as a great outlet for a lot of my frustrations while working in Springfield.  Five years later, while sharing my thoughts is still extremely cathartic, I have seen the external benefits of the blog as well.  Two weeks ago I saw my first article posted at EMS 1.  I’m hoping that it is the first of many to come. Once again, thanks to everyone who has stuck with me through the highs and the lows.  This little experiment that started as a free Blogspot has grown to be what medicsbk.com is today.  I’m looking forward to the years and opportunities to come! Share...

MedicSBK: The Early Years

MedicSBK: The Early Years

Feb 18, 2015

With the five year anniversary of the blog next week I wanted to share a couple of posts about me outside of EMS. I started reading through some older posts and my bio and realized that while I have spoken a lot about my career I have not talked much about how I got here. As I have mentioned I grew up in Island Heights, New Jersey.  While MTV might have given the Jersey Shore a bad rap it is in fact a great place to be a kid. Island Heights was not the busy tourist attraction that Seaside, located just a few miles away, is but it is a small sleepy shore town.  If I walked out our front door all that I had to do was look to the left and right to see everything that I needed growing up. To the left was a small park complete with a field, basketball court and woods suitable for hours of manhunt. To the right was the Toms River and the 18 foot Boston Whaler that I spent day after day on during the summer. If you’ve met me in person you know I’m a tall guy.  Six foot five to be exact but I’ve taken to telling people that I am five nine and a half just to see their reaction.  Although I was a three sport athlete until I reached high school (basketball baseball and soccer) because of my height I was under the most pressure to play basketball which coincidentally was my least favorite out of the three.  I first set foot on an ambulance as a cadet in my freshman year of high school and fell in love with it instantly. While I played sports and spent time at practice and games I looked more forward to going home turning the pager on and waiting for the next call to come in. We were not a busy department but we did okay considering our size. EMS was what I loved more than anything so much so that I took my EMT class at night while I was a sophomore in high school. By my junior year I had decided that...

And Away We Go!

And Away We Go!

Nov 6, 2014

This week I started what is essentially my first real true vacation since my trip to New Orleans for EMS Expo 2012.  I’ve had time off, however most of it has been because of swaps.  This time around though, I burned enough vacation time to put me out of work until the 22nd of November.  It’s an exciting break to say the least. No fall break would be complete without a trip to EMS World’s annual EMS conference being held this year in Nashville, Tennessee.  For those of you who have never been to a national conference I ask you again, what are you waiting for?  If you want to see the latest products, or have a chance to rub elbows with some of the most brilliant thinkers in this industry then conferences like EMS Expo or EMS Today are for you.  This trip marks my 9th consecutive major conference.  I’ve made some great friends, amazing professional contacts, and I have always walked away with a little different view of our field and where we are heading. I am sure that many of you are wondering what happened to the podcast.  Well, it’s not dead.  Not even close.  The last couple of months has been taken up by a lot of extra work, extra teaching and side projects which have taken time away from my social media existence, particularly the development of the podcast.  Schedules clash, ideas need to be saved until the right people are available to talk about them, and some ideas just never seem to fully develop.  We will be recording an episode of the show on the exhibit hall floor thanks to Jamie Davis and the crew at the ProMed Network.  They have always been so good to me, and continue to be supportive. Furthermore, I hope to get together with some people down there to actually have a chance to schedule some upcoming shows.  So the podcast is not even close to being a dead project.  I have invested in it, and plan on getting back to it in Nashville and in the coming months.  In the meantime, check out the already recorded episodes here. Tomorrow I hop on...

A Proud Son

A Proud Son

Oct 3, 2014

In a lot of ways, I equate being an EMT to being like riding a bike. You can step away from it for a bit, but once you do it, that mindset is always there. You’ll never forget it. You’re more apt to pull over if you see a wreck. You are the one your family and friends call when they have a medical question. As a couple who have been EMTs for more than twenty years in a small town, that is pretty much how life is for my parents Peter and Karen Kier. Last weekend, my mother and father were away visiting close family friends in Pennsylvania. My mom went out to dinner with some of the family that they were visiting intent on seeing one of their uncles play saxophone at a jazz club. They were sitting around the table enjoying a drink when the uncle suddenly collapsed. Instinct took over for my mom and she immediately stepped in, checked for a pulse that was not detectable, and began chest compressions. Within a minute of her starting CPR, he took a big gasp of air, more than an agonal respiration, and began to improve. He was transported to the local hospital, and I am happy to report that he had an internal defibrillator and pacemaker implanted, and he will soon be discharged with no neurological deficits with the expectation that he will make a full recovery. Looking back on it, I am extremely proud of her. At the same time though, I am not surprised at all. When pushed, she has always stepped up in those situations. Over the last twenty years, she has responded to thousands of calls. She has done CPR more times than I can count. Personally, I remember my very first CPR call when I was 15 years old. She was on it too. It would be short sighted to say that last Saturday night’s events defined her career as a volunteer EMT, but saving the life of a friend, well, that is on a completely different level from any other call that a prehospital provider will do in his or her career. I was going to...

Flying High

Flying High

Sep 5, 2014

My post today has nothing to do with EMS.  We all need a day off every once in a while, and last week I took mine.  With a trio of World War II planes coming to a nearby airport, my dad and I decided to go flying on the last airborne B-24 in the world.  Thanks to a friend at work, I was able to get my hands on a GoPro camera.  The people from the Wings of Freedom Tour were incredibly accommodating and allowed me to mount the camera to the belly of the plane.  It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day.  An absolute perfect day for flying, and I was able to capture the entire thing with the GoPro. Fast forward to about the 10 minute mark if you don’t feel like watching us taxi around . . . The second video all takes place in the air.  The view is great . . . Finally, we circle around a bit and eventually come in for a landing. . . Pretty neat, huh?  The best part of the day though is what happened after we landed. I was able to watch the takeoff and landing from my iPhone with the two gentlemen that I was sitting next to on the plane.  They were both World War II buffs and were very interested in getting their hands on the video so we exchanged email addresses.  While exchanging emails with one of them once I got the videos up, we discovered that we were cousins by marriage.  Who would have thought?  My dad and I take a day away, go for a fly, and end up meeting a relative that we did not even know that we had!  Crazy. Many of us in EMS are wired to work, work, and work some more until we drop.  We are slaves to the “big clock.”  But that does not mean that we don’t need a day off here and there.  Be sure to set aside time away from the “bus” for a day or two.  You never know what kind of trouble you might get in.       Share...

The Best in the Country

The Best in the Country

Aug 17, 2014

Every year, American Medical Response holds a nationwide skills competition amongst their divisions.  Tryouts are held regionally and eventually the top six divisions in the country who scored the highest in the preliminary competition are sent to Colorado to compete for the right to brag that they are the best in the country.  For the second year in a row, the Springfield, Massachusetts division is represented in the finals.  Last year, it was a pair of paramedics Erin Markt and Kim Arnone who represented my old stomping grounds.  This year it is a pair of paramedics Nick Chirekos an Roy Rudolph who will be representing Western Massachusetts. The event is held in a large “simulated” city where a crew is given a fully stocked ambulance and asked to respond to calls in this mock setting where they are heavily monitored and thrown curve balls around every corner.  The stories that Kim and Erin told me last year were great.  It sounds like such a fun experience, and each of them took something from the competition. First of all, I want to to say how great it is to see AMR holding an event like this.  As the largest ambulance company in the United States, it rests on their shoulders to also strive for clinical excellence.  Putting their divisions in the spotlight like this is a great way to showcase just how good the company has become clinically.  While I am not surprised to see Springfield heading to the finals yet again, I feel like it is something that deserves quite a lot of attention. With the brewing turf war in Holyoke, Massachusetts with their fire department, and past investigative “reporting” on the division’s performance in Springfield that revolved around response times this is yet another example of how great the clinical care being provided in the greater Springfield area really is.  While some will complain about AMR as a corporation and their motives in the medical field which are occasionally driven by their need to be a profitable company for the stakeholder’s sake, the motive for the street personnel has and always will be to deliver the best patient care that they are capable...

MedicSBK.Com Gets a Facelift!

MedicSBK.Com Gets a Facelift!

Aug 14, 2014

Since the blog is 4 and a half years old, I felt like it was time for a change.  As I mentioned in my announcement about the lack of a podcast post for this week, the site got a makeover.  For the last couple of days, I have been tweaking and moving, and playing around with all of the new settings on the new WordPress theme that I downloaded.  I know it might sound boring, but actually it is kind of fun! There will be more changes on the back end which will probably be less noticeable to those of you who read the blog regularly already.  I am currently playing around with a few different search engine optimization plugins that Go Daddy! offers. Also, I feel like this is a good time to mention the direction that this blog has taken over the past couple of months. As many of you know already, I moved my blog off of the First Responders Network of blogs.  This is in no way a reflection on my relationship with Ted or any of the other folks over at FRN it is a great organization that I am still affiliated with.  The truth of the matter though is the blog started to outgrow the capabilities of what could be offered to me on the hosting side of things.  My move to self-hosting the blog and running it through Go Daddy! was a tough decision to make but it was vital to the future of MedicSBK.com. The fact is, if it was not for Ted Setla, I would probably still be writing over at the little Blogspot site where I got my start four and a half years ago.  He believed in me, he got me started, and he gave me a soapbox to stand on for more than four years. So take a look around the site!  If you notice something that is not working, or a link that is dead, please feel free to report it to me.  There is still plenty of fine tuning and tweaking that will take place here over the next couple of weeks, but all in all, I feel like the...