EMS Blog

Fire Department Policies and Procedures are Important Documents

Posted on Jul 1st, 2020

Imagine starting your new job at the Acme widget company and on your first day at the plant the foreman takes you over to a huge machine points to the start button and says “Push that, and have a nice day.” Or rather you took a job at the Acme Chemical plant next door to the widget factory and on the first day your supervisor takes you into the lab, hands you a beautiful white lab coat and says, “Okay get in there and mix up five gallons of itsgonnablowupifyougetitwrong.”

Sounds ridiculous right? But for many new firefighters across the country, more often in small or volunteer fire departments that is what is occurring. Young firefighters are joining their local fire departments, being handed a set of protective firefighter gear and told when the bell rings, get on the truck. The above is the most extreme scenario, but let me share the following with you.


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Becoming a Better Leader in the Fire Service

Posted on Jun 1st, 2020

It cannot be overstated that strong leadership is necessary if any serious reduction in firefighter fatalities are to be expected. Officer development inclusive of higher education, directed at company officers and chiefs needs to be accomplished on a continuing basis. The idea that leaders are born, which is the pillar of the great man theory of leadership is incomplete. An individual may develop good communication skills, empathy, integrity and sound decisionmaking skills, however personal development and maturity are the mortar that hold these components of leadership together. Spencer (1896) wrote that one of the key shortcomings of the natural born leadership theory is that not all people who possess the so-called natural leadership qualities became great leaders. Good company officers (leaders) can be taught and developed with good mentoring and guidance from veteran fire officers that are skilled in their craft. Spencer (1896) went so far as to suggest that leaders were products of the society in which they lived. That easily translates into men and women who are committed to being fire service leaders can learn the skills necessary to give them the best chance to succeed, if they are immersed in a fire service culture that embraces high quality training and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Ask yourself, “Why should anyone be led by you?” A sign hangs in the Toledo Fire Battalion Chief 1 office asking that very question.

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Leadership on the fire ground - help pick up hose

Posted on May 1st, 2020

A friend and colleague of mine told me of a conversation he had with a deputy chief who questioned him about whether it made any difference to fire crews if he as a battalion chief helped them pick up hose after a fire. The deputy appeared to suggest that aiding his fire crews by picking up hose line didn’t have any impact on his influence with his crews and was an unnecessary leadership behavior. I personally couldn’t disagree more with the deputy chief on this issue. Picking up hose means something.

Company officers including chief officers are the formal leaders on the fire ground. Fire crews expect officers will provide direction at the scene of an emergency and they will center their decision-making around sound strategy and effective tactics. Never forgetting about reducing risk for the fire crews. Firefighting activities will never be free of risk. The danger of injury or death loom in this high-risk profession. Fire ground leadership among other things is meant to reduce the risk as much as possible while still accomplishing the mission, life safety and property protection. 

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Documentation within a Patient Care Report for EMS is critical. - Dr. Robert C. Krause

Posted on Mar 31st, 2020

Completing emergency medical services (EMS) patient care reports (PCRs) is a critically important component of providing quality care in the prehospital setting. The patient care report is a legal document that is used for a variety of purposes. Many organizations use the patient care report to complete internal quality assurance programs. These quality assurance programs help EMS administrators determine how well EMS crews are providing care, following their specific protocols, and how patients are being treated in the pre-hospital setting. The PCR is also a part of the admission record for a patient taken to a hospital emergency department. Medical professionals within the hospital often refer to the information contained in the patient care report written by paramedics and EMTs to better understand a patient's condition prior to their arrival in the emergency department.

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Protecting your patients. Proper use of ambulance cot straps is important.

Posted on Mar 1st, 2020

At least three strap type restraining devices (chest, hip, and knee) shall be provided per stretcher, cot, and litter to prevent longitudinal or transverse dislodgment of the patient during transit. Additionally, the head of the cot shall be furnished with upper torso (over shoulder) restraints that mitigate forward motion of the patient during severe braking or in a frontal impact accident. Restraining straps shall incorporate metal-to-metal quick release buckles, be not less than 51 mm (2 in.) wide, and fabricated from nylon or other materials easily cleaned and disinfected. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against EMS organizations for injuries sustained to patients when the cot has been dropped or tipped over and patients have been improperly secured to the cot and have become injured. Further, when ambulances are involved in vehicular crashes patients are often Page 1 of 3injured as a result of not being properly secured to the cot using the available five straps as required by the cot manufacturers. 

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Paramedics Need To Consistently Reevaluate Their Patient’s Airway To Ensure Patency

Posted on Feb 10th, 2020

Paramedics throughout the country perform life-savings skills on a daily basis. Many
people that would have previously died from their illness or injury are still alive due to the skill
of talented Emergency Medical Services personnel such as paramedics. One particular skill set
used by paramedics in the pre-hospital setting is endotracheal intubation.

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Has the Clare Firefighters Association in Nova Scotia found a solution to recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters? They very well may have

Posted on Jan 18th, 2020

I had the privilege of training with members of the Clare Firefighters Association in Nova Scotiain April. The attendees to the conference came from many departments in the region, sometraveled more than three hours to get to Clare. The weekend of training focused on firefightingtechniques, leadership development and firefighter safety. The number of attendees was nearly300.Members of the planning committee for the training conferenceintroduced me to a training system they developed called theClare Firefighters Association Training Passport. 

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Emergency Vehicle Response and Intersections can be Dangerous Combination

Posted on Jan 1st, 2020

Driving an emergency vehicle while responding with the emergency lights and sirens
activated is a high risk operation. Emergency vehicles include ambulances, fire trucks, police
cars, personal vehicles (POVs) and any other vehicle used for emergency response that uses
emergency lights and sirens. 

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