EMS Nutrition #1 – You Are What You Eat

November 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

For the past 8 weeks I’ve used Monday as an opportunity to share some fitness tips designed at getting readers up and moving. Starting today I’m going to shift the focus to the nutritional changes we can make to help us have a long career and life.

Now, keep in mind that I am certainly NOT a professional nutritionist. The information I post is pulled from various credible websites and resources.  As always, when in doubt or concerned, work with a medical professional to make sure you are taking the right steps for you.

Do You Know What You are Eating?

It seems slightly ironic writing this post, just four days after a very gluttonous holiday.  How many of you considered eating turkey and mashed potatoes for breakfast on Black Friday? It’s okay, you can admit it 🙂 However, this is really the perfect time to look at what changes you should consider making.

One of the first things you can do on the way to making nutritional changes is begin a food diary.  It’s really a humbling experience, writing down everything you eat/drink and the portion sizes you take in. It’s also important that you don’t change your habits as you do this. And write down EVERYTHING. Again, a hard thing to do because when you look back at your record it might be a bit of a shock. It’s important that you see what you are eating, how much you are eating, and what types of things you are eating.  This will let you see if you need to increase vegetables, fruit, dairy, decrease sweets, change portions, etc.

If you are like me, being able to electronically calculate your intake is an easier way to track. There are various Smartphone applications and websites, including: http://www.mypyramidtracker.gov/Default.aspx?Module=3

Once you’ve tracked your intake for two weeks (if not more) you’ll have a better idea of what steps to take next.

Until next post!

(Remember to follow us on twitter – @stickysidedwn)


EMS Exercise #8 – Burpees

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Often times on shift we are faced with minimal time to get in a solid workout. So in order to gain the most out of the time we have full body workouts can give us tremendous fitness gains, and one of the best ones around is the burpee


The Burpee is a full body workout that involves legs, upper body, and cardio all in one workout. It requires no equipment and can be done just about anywhere.

You start with you feet shoulder width apart and perform a squat. At the end of this squat your hands should also be touching the ground. Then you shoot your feet back into a push up plank position. Then you shoot your feet back to your squat position. Finally standing up back to your original starting position.

This is referred to as a “beginner burpee” You should try to do 3 sets of 10 but scale down the difficulty if needed. Once these become easy you can ramp up your difficulty by adding moves to the burpee process like doing a push up in the plank position before returning to the squat, or instead of just standing up at the end jump in the air.

 As with the previous posts, this post was written by Robby Owens – averagejakeff.wordpress.com (@averagejakeff).

Friday Five – Five Favorite Fire/EMS Shows/Movies

November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Okay, so we all know that there are shows, movies, books, etc that have supported our need to have all things EMS. While some of these are well-known, it really does surprise me how many of these are not known by those just entering the service

1.  Mother, Juggs, and Speed – Okay, seriously. Anyone who hasn’t seen this movie should be taken out back and beat with a stick (no not really, but COME ON!). This movie is the example of SO many things that helped the EMS service become what it is today. The movie, starring Harvey Keitel, Bill Cosby, and Raquel Welch and focuses on services in the late 70’s, when it was about the first person who put their hands on the patient, were the ones who got to treat them.

2.  Bringing Out the Dead – Starring Nicholas Cage, this is a look at the dark/personnel sie of the system. It shows the alcoholism, stress, burnout, and PTSD associated with a career in the EMS service. I’ve also read the book, which (as with every movie/book combo) provides a much deeper story. This movie is definitely a must see, to remind people that it’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows in the field.

3.  Emergency – Much like The Towering Inferno is to the Fire Service, Emergency is to the EMS profession. This show, introducing us to Johnny and Roy, led people to understand the emerging service that was EMS. They talked about the new paramedic program, and the shock of training people to be “doctors” in the field.  I’ve been lucky enough to hear Randolph Mantooth (one of the primary actors) speak at our conference. He truly supports the EMS system and still campaigns for funding and improvement.

4.  Trauma – This short-lived, modern-day look at EMS really was a sensationalized view of the profession, but I still liked it. The thing to remember when watching these shows is that if they showed what the job was REALLY like (difficulty breathing, chest pains, stubbed toes) it wouldn’t stay on T.V. at all.

5. Trauma: Life in the ER: Okay, so part of my love of Trauma: Life in the ER is that my cousin, a firefighter in DC was on an episode (for only like 5 seconds, but I knew it was him). The other part of is that it showed not only field, but the interaction between field providers and the hospital, and sometimes not in a positive interaction. I really think it is important for those coming into the service to understand that we don’t always get along with everyone. It also showed the follow through of what the disposition of the patient was after they were dropped off by the ambulance.

So, what do you think are shows/movies that have made a difference or impacted the EMS field?

As always, don’t forget to follow on twitter: @stickysidedwn

Reaching out Into the Community

November 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

There are three things (besides my job) that I’m passionate about. 

1.  My family. They are my motivation and my support. The two crazy children and husband who fill my day with laughter and fun are truly a source of inspiration to me

2.  Disney World.  Really, all things Disney, but since I’ve only been to Disney World, there are some limits.  My husband might say I’m slightly obsessive about my love of Disney, but be careful, because it’s contagious

3.  The Holidays.  Honestly, again, I’m probably a bit on the obsessive side, but the magic of Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. is something I pride myself in ensuring is provided to my children and those I interact with.

Now, before you stop reading, this is the reason for writing my post, the magic of the holidays. Now that we are already seeing Christmas commercials, Christmas movies, and listening to Christmas music, it’s time to consider how you are passing the holiday magic to those in the community.

Community outreach is an important part of what we do. We host open houses, put up smoke detectors, visit schools, all different ways of reaching out to our citizens. During the holidays, do you continue to reach out? The options are endless. They include

1.  Serving food at a homeless shelter
2.  Adopting a neighborhood family
3.  Choosing an angel from an Angel Tree
4.  Hosting an open house (with Santa)
5. Donate to an organized food drive
6.  Write Holiday Cards to military personnel oversees

I know, that given the financial situation many of us find ourselves in (because we all know that this profession isn’t really supportive of becoming a millionaire), that the thought of giving money or spending money can be a struggle, but that’s why you find what you can do. Some of the above suggestions involve nothing more than time and dedication, something you already have (just look at what you give to the service already).

And remember, community outreach should be year round, not just for special occasions!

EMS Fitness Exercise #7 – Step Ups

November 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here is another exercise to build leg strength, and endurance. Often times during a shift we are climbing stairs. We do this under
multiple circumstances (carrying patients, carrying equipment). In order to lessen injury, and to ensure patient safety we need to work on our endurance and strength. Lower extremity injuries happen when fatigue sets in and we begin to sacrifice form.

The “Step Up” is an exercise that can be done almost anywhere and the level of difficulty can be ramped up or down. You need a stable object to step up on (chair, stairs, ottoman, aerobic step) then simply step up on this object. Once you are up then step down and repeat with the opposite

While this exercise can build strength we are really looking for the endurance aspect so try and perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps. If this is to hard
then back it down. If it is too easy then grab some free weights, a plate weight, books, soup cans, a weighted book bag, up the reps, or step up to a
higher object.

As usual be sure to warm up prior and stretch/cool down after.

Thanks again to Robby Owens at averagejakeff.wordpress.com (@averagejakeff).

Friday Five – My Five Favorite Lectures

November 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Okay, so as an Instructor I’m pretty lucky to teach many different topics.  Especially with EMT covering everything from scene safety to delivery babies.  This is a list of my five favorite lectures:

1. OBGYN – This is MOST DEFINITELY the lecture I enjoy the most and am most disappointed if I don’t get to teach it during EMT class.  I mean who doesn’t love to teach a class where when you want the video most students begin to squirm in their seats and get a little squeamish.  And there is ALWAYS a video.  I also have to admit that six years ago, before I had my own children, this lecture would have probably NOT been on this list. Having had kids of my own, I’m definitely MUCh more comfortable teaching this class.

2.  Mass Casualty/START Triage – I enjoy this not only because it’s a class that I’ve helped write, but also because it’s one taught not only across my state, but has been adopted by other states and jurisdictions.  I also enjoy doing the tabletop scenarios with students and seeing them begin to put together the concepts in a practical application. Even better is when I hear back from students who have run MCIs in the field and have been able to put the concepts together

3.  ICS for EMSPart of my love for tis is probably because of the research I did to put together the class, which is also based on my book of the same topic. As a young member of the EMS service (many years ago), I wanted scenarios that impacted me, and there were none. To be able to assist the younger generation (and even the not so young generation) to understand their roles is great!

4.  Soft Tissue Injuries – I always love teaching this, again because of the squeamish aspect mostly, but I also enjoy finding pictures of real life scenarios. I also enjoy finding videos too. In this day and age, all you have to do is internet search for various injuries. Heck, almost every monday you can probably find a highlight reel from the previous night’s football games to assist in this lecture!

5. Psychological Emergencies – As a psychology major, this is a great lecture to me. Not only do I love the uncertainty brought by a psychological emergency call, but I also enjoy making sure that my students are ready to handle that uncertainty.  Getting students to understand the various nuances of the psych patient almost makes me feel like I actually went into psychology instead of emergency management.

Honestly, I love every lecture that allows a student to learn new things, but these are my top five!

EMS Fitness Exercise #6 – Cardio

November 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

The leading killer of not just Emergency Services workers but of Americans is heart disease. Add to that the uncommon factors we face such as sleep deprivation we are more likely to suffer a cardiovascular emergency than the average person. The only way we can prevent this is to exercise our heart.

Walking is still one of the most recognized and effective forms of cardiovascular exercise. It is also low impact on your knees which means you can do it more often.  The important thing is to make sure you are reaching your target heart rate while doing so, this is not a leisurely stroll it is a fitness walk.


The younger you are the higher you’re Target Heart rate will be, the older you are the lower it will be. The important thing about cardio is
that you have to be in that range for it to be effective and to have cardio vascular gain. It doesn’t matter whether you walk, run, swim, or sprint but you have to get 20 minutes of target heart rate work in 3-4 times a week.

Checking with your doctor prior to doing cardio work outs is essential. Additionally like all the others warm up before, and cool down/stretch after you are done.

** On a side note, this exercise is personal with me.  Just three years ago I would have laughed if someone had told me that I would be a runner.  I wouldn’t say I’m “professional” by any means, but I have completed a 10K, signed up for an 8K and have plans to complete a Marathon in 2013.  I started with walking and when that no longer felt like enough started adding a small amounts of running, until I was running two-three miles at a time.  It may take time, but you can do it!


This post was written by Robert Owens of averagejakeff.wordpress.com.

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