Stepping Back to Step Forward

With my decision to go back to the street more than two years in the rear view mirror, I got thinking the other day about what it has all meant to me.  The system that I came from had a relatively high rate of turnover for supervisors.  I was there for twelve years and the group of five full-time supervisors that were employed there in their position the day that I left were a completely different batch than the one that was there on the day that I got hired. Every supervisor obviously went somewhere.  A few went up in the company, a few went down, and many moved on to another service.  All of them stayed in the field though.  To me, that shows the level of dedication and love for the field that everyone who put on a “white shirt” shared.  We wanted to be there, and wanted to do whatever we could to make things work. Life after supervision is not always easy.  With no system being perfect, it is almost second nature at this point in my career to look and try and find a solution.  That is where I find myself jerking my own reins because as we so commonly see in this industry, what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.  That is to say, what works in one system does not always work for the industry as a whole. And then there is the overall focus of my day.  At peak in my old job, I was responsible for close to twenty five ambulances.  At any given time, from the chatter on the radio, I could tell you what just about everyone was up to, and who was on the truck.  After a while, it became second nature to me.  In fact, I felt like it was a necessity.  Each crew out there had their own unique set of problems and challenges that they would have to deal with and although I was not nearly as successful as I would have liked to have been in solving those problems, I would like to think that I did okay some of the time....

Vacation!!

It is time for me to take a few days off.  I am heading to New Jersey for the weekend to enjoy the annual fire department brewfest/fund raiser in Island Heights where I grew up.  There will be no podcast on Monday, but posts will start up again next Wednesday. Enjoy your weekend, stay safe if you are working and I will see you in July! Share...

Podcast Episode 8: Happy Father’s Day!

Podcast Episode 8: Happy Father’s Day!

Jun 16, 2014

This week’s show is something that I am really excited about.  Since it was Father’s Day weekend, my dad Peter Kier came down to visit for the night.  I convinced him to sit down and record a show with me about his experiences as an EMT. Those who know me know how important my family is to me.  Both of my parents are EMTs and they are the main reason that I got into this field so many years ago.  Little do they know, but I am as proud of them for their accomplishments in EMS as they are of me. So check out this week’s show as I sit down and interview my dad! To download this week’s podcast, click this link!  Otherwise, use the player below. Share...

One From the Heart

I’ve struggled with how much of this I should post as it gets rather personal for me in a number of ways.  My final decision is that I should, and need to, lay everything on the line.  I may offend some, others might roll their eyes at some of this but this is my story, like it or not, take it or leave it. Over the last year and a half I have been asked by a number of people in my new system, “Why did you come here?”  My usual answer is “I don’t have enough time to explain it all, which is partially true.  The truth of it all is though that most of the reasons that I left Massachusetts revolve around my tipping point which took place during the first week of June in 2012.  I think it’s time that I set the record straight.  Any statute of limitations I would potentially be violating should have lapsed by now, right? In April and May of that year there was some major restructuring done to AMR’s Northeast Division.  The regional manager was let go and was replaced by a former manager at Rural Metro.  At first, it did not seem to have much impact on us, but I remember being at a training for my part time job at Six Flags and having to step out for an “emergency conference call” to announce the change.  It came as a surprise, of course, but a subdued one at that.  The next few weeks it was “business as usual” in my operation. The first week of June had been a particularly turbulent one in 2011 when I dealt with the worst natural disaster that Springfield endured during my tenure with the tornado that hit on the first, so that week already carried a lot of memories for me.  During those first few days of June of 2012, it seemed like it was just about all that we talked about. The first of June was a Friday, and that day passed rather uneventfully.  I worked the day shift.  Many of us swapped some stories, and we all went home that night feeling good about ourselves....

Responsible Reporting and Credibility

I feel bad following up yesterday’s positive CPR piece with a negative one, but I feel like something needs to be said in a greater forum than just the timeline of my Twitter account. I spent Wednesday night reading some articles that I had put aside this week, specifically ones related to the paramedics who were allegedly photographed “smiling” at the scene of a motor vehicle accident and what can loosely be referred to as “reporting” by Fox 2 in Detroit.  I would link the original story but Fox 2 has pulled it from circulation without explanation.  I am not going to beat the dead horse of the issue revolving around the picture.  If you want to read some great articles about it check out Dave Statter’s page, or see what the Rogue Medic has to say about it. After reading a few articles and looking over the Twitter feeds of those involved, I decided that I would make a simple attempt to voice my opinion.  I posted the following four tweets and called it a night.   What I woke up to was a reply from Maurielle Lue, one of Andrea Isom’s colleagues at Fox 2.  Ms. Lue, who states on her Twitter profile that she is an “Emmy Award Winning reporter” posted the following reply on my timeline:             That’s right; an Emmy Award Winning reporter told me to “STFU.”  While, with that simple statement, she lost all credibility in my eyes, I engaged in a lengthy 140 character at a time discussion with her that ended with her telling me I should contact the station if I was so upset.  I took Ms. Lue’s advice and sent the following e-mail to Kevin Roseburger at Fox 2.   Mr. Roseborough, I am writing you in regards to the story that your station did last week about the paramedics who were thought to be smiling at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.  Last night, I sat down to catch up on a number of EMS related stories that I had bookmarked, your story and Dave Statter’s (Statter911.com) thoughts on it being towards the top.  After reading both, as...

Podcast Episode 3: Where Are They Now? @MsParamedic

I have met a lot of people over the last four years.  Few have had a bigger impact on my life than Natalie Quebodeaux Cavander.  She has been one of my closest friends since I started writing and podcasting, and has been incredibly supportive every step of the way.  Life’s changes take us all in different directions, which is exactly what it did for Natalie.  This week, Natalie and I talk about the twists and turns that her life has taken over the last couple of years, and discuss a few new angles she is taking a look at EMS from. To read some of Natalie’s posts check out her old blog, MsParamedic.com.  Even though she does not write there anymore her posts are still incredibly relevant. It goes without saying that Natalie was also an excellent podcaster.  Check out the podcast she used to be part of known as The Gen Med Show. Also, I feel it bears mentioning that the picture below is from Las Vegas in 2011.  Don’t worry though, we found out after this picture was taken that Jeff Sorenson better known as @Chicagomedic who is standing between us, was not an ordained minister, so like many Vegas weddings this one was over before it started! To download the podcast, click this link!  Otherwise listen on the player below.   Share...

Some More Thoughts on Sirens

On the heels of Wednesday’s podcast I wanted to share some more thoughts on Sirens and try to explain why I think this show is as great as I do.  It is a comedy.  No doubt.  Its crude at times, but I like that, I am a fan of that kind of humor.  The beauty of Sirens though, is it is not a comedy about working on an ambulance.  Instead, it is a comedy that takes place on an ambulance.  The real beauty of Sirens is in the characters. Take look around you.  Look at the people you work with, and the people that you know who work int he industry.  Each of us knows that person who is better at managing their work life than their personal life, whose partner seems to know their life better than they do, or someone who is obsessed with gore.  Each service has that sage-like older EMT, and someone who seems to have far more knowledge in their heads than the average EMT.  And final, we all know that far too eager rookie who has no idea what they are getting into. Each of those characters is represented in Sirens.  They’re all there.  Johnny, Hank, VooDoo, Stats, Cash, and Brian.  Each of them seems to represent a certain personality that we all encounter far too often, and they each do it well. Now, although I am a big fan of the character work on this show, the EMS, while not completely accurate treatment wise, is topically accurate.  They deal with those weird calls that we run into, and the MCI’s and frequent fliers.  They also dive just below the surface of how we as an industry deal with those types of calls.  If you want proof of that look no further than the 9th episode of the first season called There’s No I in Ice Cream.  It is probably the most serious of the episodes in the first season, and because of that, it is by far my favorite. The biggest thing that I took from my time talking to Kevin Bigley and Kevin Daniels was the amount of respect both men have for our profession.  This...

EMS in the New Decade: The Podcast!

EMS in the New Decade: The Podcast!

Apr 30, 2014

Yes, you read that title right: The Podcast.  The time has come for me to finally do what I have wanted to do for a couple years now.  On Monday May 5, I will release the first episode of my podcast carrying the same title as this blog.  This is something that I have wanted to do for a long, long time, and have been asked to do by a few people but I never really felt that I had the time. A lot of the roadblocks that I had keeping me from doing this are not there anymore, and it is time for me to take the plunge.  Monday’s show will be an overview of what to expect from the episodes to come.  Shows will be posted weekly on Monday mornings at 10:30am EST, and will be listed along with my other blog posts on the homepage of my blog.  In addition to that, there will be a link in the menu to take you to the index of all of my podcast episodes.  Also, I am currently creating an index of past episodes of other shows that I have been part of.  They will be part of this menu page as well. It feels really good to be back writing at 100%.  The major life change, and employer change took its toll on me for a while.  It is not easy to start over in a new system with new people, new protocols, and new everything.  I was ripped from my comfort zone, and it took me a while to get back close to it.  I’m not there yet, and there’s challenges that I am dealing with every day, but to be back writing is an important part of that for me.  It just seems like the next logical step for me is to get back into podcasting, and even more logical to finally host my own show. I really cannot tell you how excited I am about this.  Thanks to the support of people like Ben Neal, RJ Stine, Random Ward, Natalie Quebodeaux, and of course Kyle David Bates, Chris Montera and Jamie Davis, I am finally going to make it...

Enough is Enough

Over the course of the last year I have developed an established morning ritual.  One piece of that is sitting down and reading a series of links for the day that include local and national news sources as well as posts from selected blogs.  It helps pass the time in the morning, and it is something to do while I enjoy my coffee. Last month, I read a very moving post by Chris Kaiser over at Life Under the Lights about provider suicide.  That particular morning I was teaching at my department’s monthly educational day for one of our platoons, and one of the topics that I was tackling was stress management.  The post made such an impression with me that I included it in my lecture while describing the “code of silence” and how it applies to EMS professionals. It was a blunt reminder of the stress that each of us in this field deal with both as a provider and as a person.  We are not only expected to shoulder our own problems but we are expected to tackle the problems that everyone else around us has as well.  The result is us burying and burying and burying until our own feelings are so suppressed that when they do surface they are so overwhelming that they are that much harder to deal with. Sad to say, I am seeing more and more cases of provider suicide in the field.  It is a problem that is not going away.  In fact, my whole reason for writing this post is because I recently learned of the passing of someone that I met a number of years ago.  He was a hard-nosed paramedic who was never afraid to speak his mind.  Although he was one of those people who could clearly be a thorn in your side it was obvious to me that he had his peers’ and his patients’ best interest in mind.  Much like my other experiences with provider suicide, the news that I heard came out of the blue and based on what I have heard from friends, while there were some warning signs out there no one ever thought that he...

A Friday Trip Down Memory Lane

Fifteen years ago I was just getting ready to wrap up my first semester of paramedic class.  We started in January and ran straight through to December with most of our summer dedicated to ACLS.  My teacher, Gary Childs, was tough on us through the first five months, but once we started getting it, we looked at it less as him being critical and more so of him challenging us.  Many pushed to get in his practical station first and as CJ Bartone, one of my classmates often said, “If you want the bull, you’ve got to take it by the horns!” Through the first two semesters of class, I started a list of what would go on to be known as GAC’isms.  G.A.C. were Gary’s initials, and that is what he put on any check sheet a student might have when they went walking out of class.  This list comprises some of the more common statements he made in class as well as some of the more noteworthy and less frequent ones.  Many of my readers might not completely understand this but I feel like there are many out there that have encountered Gary, either as one of their head instructors at Springfield College, or as a lecturer in some other CEU class.  Enjoy! 1. Then we’re going to turn around… 2. Does this sound like… 3. Do you see where we’re going with this? 4. You’ve got to make the soup. 5. Do you need to know if you’re putting the sugar in the bath tub or in Island Pond? 6. Chase the lion or be chased by the lion. 7. Chase the PVTA bus or be chased by the PVTA bus. 8. Palpate, auscoltate and inspect. 9. A P-Wave… 10. Harley’s going to do his ET(O2)IVMONITOR… 11. That’s a snowball thrown at the police cruiser. 12. Eating the Lion and celebrating eating the lion. 13. The TV set doesn’t know what the cable company is. 14. I want to watch Sipowitz on NBC. 15. We’re hitting the ground running. 16. Its all coming together now. 17. You’ve paid the cable bill. 18. Does this patient need to go to Cooley Dic...