EMS Nutrition #8 – Dinner’s Served!

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you ask my husband, he’ll admit that as a baker I excel. I can get a recipe and churn out some great desserts and even breakfast baked goods. But, when you ask me to cook/grill, I’m definitely much worse off. I have a few standard recipes that I can turn to that I know my family likes, but I don’t stray very far from baked chicken, pasta, hamburgers, or steak/potatoes. This year I actually cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey and I was amazed it turned out okay. Granted, my standard was that it didn’t make anyone ill, so I had set the bar low!

However, with the changes we’ve made in our physical fitness and eating habits, I’m always looking for new recipes and new ideas for healthy dinners. With two picky kids, it makes it a bit harder, but we’ll keep trying new things! 

Here are a few places I search for recipes and a few recipes I use.

Ritz Cracker Chicken

Here’s the recipe: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/ritz-cracker-chicken/

This recipe creates a moist and tender chicken breast that has some great flavor to it


I like lasagna because it always leaves some leftovers.  Remember to cosnider low-fat cheeses, lean meats, and whole wheat pastas.

Here’s a link to a lower fat/lower calorie recipe: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/better-than-ever-cheesy-meat-lasagna-91438.aspx

Websites I Use

Kraft Recipes: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/home.aspx – not only can you search based on which meal you are making but you can also enter a few ingredients you have on hand and they will provide you with a recipe that you can make!

Food Network – http://www.foodnetwork.com/healthy-eating/index.html – They actually have a portion of the website that focuses specially on healthy eating and healthy recipes.

Livestrong – http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/ – As I started researching the nutrition posts, I came across the Livestrong website. I’ve been impressed by the information provided and the recipes available. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

So, there are a few websites and ideas for you as you plan your next dinner/shopping list.  Are there any recipes you have that are your “go-to” recipes?  If so, make sure to share!

Also, don’t forget the giveaway that is going on!

Until next time, stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)!


I’m having a giveaway!

February 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Have I mentioned I wrote a book?  I know, I’m funny aren’t I?  In case you didn’t know, here’s a picture:

Well, in honor of the release of my book, and in hopes of spreading the information, I’m giving away a copy of the book.  That’s right, one signed copy of my book will be given away to a lucky reader.  Here are the details:

How To Enter

In order to enter you will either need to tweet (@stickysidedwn) or email (sticky-side-down@comcast.net) a picture of what you use for incident command.  It could be a picture of your riding assignment board, a picture of an Incident Command Vehicle, a picture of a command vest.  Really, anything that shows how you use ICS at your station.

Remember in your e-mail to include your name and station location. We will share pictures that are entered into the contest, as they might give others ideas on what they can do with their station.

**Edited to add** – Your picture doesn’t necessarily have to have specific ICS (or even fire/EMS themed) items (such as command vests). Think outside the box – take a picture of your Lieutenant’s Badge, your assignment board (if you a nurse it could be bed assignments).  It could be a picture of a triage tag or an ambulance. Anything that shows your structured response!  If you aren’t a member of an agency, consider writing down the command structure in your own house and sending a picture 🙂


Pictures will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. March 9, 2012.

Choosing a Winner

A winner will be chosen at random and their name will be posted Saturday March 10, 2012.

Could I Have Done More?

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

My heart is heavy today, which given the fact that it is Valentine’s Day, seems slightly off-balance.  It is heavy because in the last week (actually less) Virginia has lost two responders in Line of Duty Deaths and just today my husband told me about the loss of fellow county Volunteer. While his death was not line of duty, it still was a fellow first responder, someone who I spent many calls with and have many memories about.

It’s hard not to hear these bits of news and not take it personally. You play the “What If It Had Been Me?” or the “I wonder if I know them” cards. You consider how you would respond if it were in your own agency and what you would do if it were your crew, etc. We mourn for the losses of our brothers and at the same time breathe a small and short-lived sigh of relief that it wasn’t us.  And honestly, I think that’s okay.  What’s more important though is that while we celebrate the people who aren’t with us anymore, we take the opportunity to try to prevent it from happening again.  We can NEVER forget the things that the L.O.D.D.s have taught us.  The reports are simple: we don’t wear our seatbelts, we are out of shape, we have a significantly higher rate of suicide than many other professions. Just last year a report was issued focusing on suicides in the fire service (http://lifesafetyinitiatives.com/13/depressionsuicide_summary.pdf).

What do we need to do to make sure we don’t ask ourselves “Could I have done more?” 

1.  Education! Read the trade magazines, the studies, the NIOSH and OSHA reports, the websites.  Hell, you should be reading things about this service every day (or at least every shift). These are people who have learned the hard way and want to make sure that you don’t have to make the same mistake. 

2.  Train!   Once you’ve educated yourself, apply the knowledge through training.  Training is more than reading.  Training is the hands-on application of the skills or lessons you learned from the reading.  Train to recognize when a scene is going to crap and your safety is being compromised.  Train to recognize unsafe fire conditions/unsafe medical patients/unsafe scenes and learn how to handle the situations without becoming a part of the incident.

3.  Man/Woman Up – This might seem like a harsh statement, but TOO many times I’ve watched people go towards that dark corner that we could all potentially end up in after too many bad calls, too many bad days, etc. They get to that breaking point long after they should have stood up and said “Hey, I need help and I can’t do it alone”. Whether you use your agency Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) system, or even just reach out to a coworker, mentor, loved one, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is the recognition, that if you don’t reach out…the opportunity may not come around for your to reach out again!

4.  Recognize Others Problems – We train for responding to the aftermath on a daily basis.  AFTER the car crash, I will hold C-Spine. AFTER the delivery I will suction the airway. AFTER the fire starts, I will put it out.  AFTER I begin to have issues dealing with the hard stuff, I will seek out help.  Why aren’t we training for the BEFORE.  Train for resiliency (the ability to deal with what we could potentially face on a daily basis). Train to recognize the signs and symptoms of someone else struggling. Train to get help before it’s too late!

5. Follow simple safety precautions. Put your seat belt on, wear your safety best, wear the appropriate equipment….the list goes on.  I could sit here and list way too many safety issues that we neglect to follow on a daily basis and I am one that has this struggle. In the back of the ambulance, i don’t wear my seatbelt. I should, but it’s not habit. I need to make it habit! Make those safety expectations habit, so in the heat of the moment, you don’t forget.

Here are some great sites for additional information: http://www.everyonegoeshome.com/, www.icisf.org, www.nvfc.org.

I know that even following these and other safety recommendations, we will still be left asking ourselves “Could I have done more”?  It’s in our nature. But do your best to not walk away from a situation saying “I didn’t do anything”.

Until next time…stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

EMS Nutrition #7 – MMMM…Dinner

February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

If I had to choose one dish for dinner for the rest of my life it would probably be a toss up between pizza and pasta. I could eat carbs for the rest of my life for every meal.  And for the longest time, I didn’t see any problem with that.  But as I got older my body was showing me there was a problem with how many carbs I was eating.  With the lifestyle e change that my husband and I have made, I”m definitely paying more attention to what I eat.  And dinner has probably been one of the biggest changes I’ve made.

So, as you plan dinner, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.  Watch your portions!  It is really easy to sit down at dinner and eat, and eat, and eat.  Unfortunately with dinner being the last meal of the day, unless you exercise late at night, those are calories that will not be burned.  With that in mind limiting the portions and helpings that you get is important.  Have you noticed that many restaurants have actually switched to smaller plates at dinner time.  Even restaurants have realized that portion control is important!

2.  Use whole grains!  One of the changes I’ve made to my pasta love is to switch to whole grains. They are actually less processed and healthier.  And honestly, except for the fact that cooking times increase by just a bit, I haven’t noticed a change (and more importantly, neither have my kids).

3.  Serve vegetables – Okay, this is one I’m not so good at.  If I serve vegetables it’s normally canned corn, mashed potatoes, or rice. One of the things to consider is to use the vegetables to add color to your plate. A colorful meal is most often a healthier meal (and no ketchup and mustard shouldn’t be the color).

4.  What your red meat! – You should attempt to limit your red meat meals to two a week. Consider using pork, chicken, or seafood to add variety to your meals.

5. What have you missed? – This may seem a bit funny, but consider this. Dinner is an opportunity you have to meet the needs of the food pyramid, to get the food group servings that you need. This is your last chance to make sure you’ve had a well-rounded nutritional day!

So, those are five items to keep in mind as you plan your next dinner.  Next week I’ll share some great dinner ideas, as well as websites for some great recipe ideas!

Until then, stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn).

Friday Five – Five Items I Don’t Leave The Station Without!

February 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

Okay, so I’ve talked about what five items I pack when I come to pull a shift, this week’s Friday Five is the five items I take with me on every call.  These are items that I like to have, need to have, or otherwise prefer to have on me when I’m running calls.  Honestly, these are items I have on me at all times. I don’t leave them on the truck during the shift, because as we all know – the prettier the item, the longer the legs it grows and the quicker it runs away!

Five Items For Every Call

  1.  A good pair of boots – When I started in EMS, my station provided me with a pair of Red Wing Boots.  Man did I love those things. Steel toe, perfectly sized with a zipper.  It was heaven.  Then, after many years of wear and tear, after I’d finally gotten them broken in, I had to have them resoled, and wouldn’t you know – they didn’t fit the same!  The only other pair of shoes I found really comfortable were slip on Thorogood Boots. These things had an amazing amount of padding, were slip on and steel-toe. The only downside was that they were only ¼ boots and didn’t provide any stability for my ankles.  I’m actually thinking of getting another pair at FDIC.
  2. Stethoscope – I was lucky enough to be given as a “good luck” gift a Cardiology III Stethoscope by Littman. This thing stays glued to my side for rotations and shifts. I recommend that you have your own stethoscope. It doesn’t have to be the highest cost, but having your own stethoscope means that it’s a piece of equipment that you are familiar with.  I definitely like having the Cardiology III.  It provides a reliable method of auscultation and I am thankful to have such supportive people while I go through Intermediate Class.
  3. Cell Phone – I don’t know about you, but in our area, we have no guarantees that the hospital is going to answer the radio system (HEAR system) when we attempt to notify them of our patient information prior to arrival at their facility. We used to have a cell phone on the truck, but we all know what happens with that (too many people using it for personal business). I like to have my cell phone because it gives me a backup for contacting hospitals, Supervisors, dispatch, etc.
  4. Clothing Layers – I have found that in losing weight, I’m more prone to becoming cold at the weirdest times, so I often layer. I will wear a tank top, a duty shirt, and a sweatshirt just so I have the ability to take a layer off as needed.  I’ll normally have a coat, but I’ll so rarely wear it because it just feels too bulky. But the last thing I want is to get too cold or too hot while at a call.
  5. Wallet/EMT Card – It seems simple, but how many of you, if I asked could show me your EMT card without taking any steps?  It’s actually a requirement (at least in my state) that you carry your EMT card with you so that if someone asked to see it, you can show it immediately.  I have laminated my card so that if I accidentally wash it, it at least maintains some of its look.  But I keep it on me at all times.  As long as I have my license, I have my EMT card.  Do you?

 So, those are the five items I will always have on me during a shift.  Are there things you have every shift?  Share!

Until next time – stay safe! Don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

EMS Nutrition #6 – Healthy Lunch Recipes

February 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

As we discussed last week, lunches are an important way to make sure that you not only take in the portions of the food pyramid that you need, but also that you continue a day with strong food choices to help minimize the need and desire to snack.  Here are some great thoughts you should keep in mind when you are picking your lunch:


Sandwiches provide an opportunity to obtain two of the servings of whole grain, as well as a protein and vegetable. They are also a simple meal that can easily be eaten in the truck, or while staged at a post.  When making your sandwich choose a whole grain/whole wheat bread ensures that you are having a filling sandwich that provides long-lasting energy. When making the sandwich skip the condiments such as mayonnaise, butter, or cream cheese, and choose mustard, avocado, or olive oil dressing. Also, choose meats that are a lean cut. Some sandwich options include:

Turkey on whole grain with mustard and romaine lettuce

Nutella and banana on a whole wheat bagel


Salads, while harder to eat on the go, which we do so often during this job.  Salads provide an opportunity to get vegetables, meat, and fruit depending on the type of salad that you make/purchase. While the crunch of iceburg lettuce is nice, the darker, leafier lettuces are a better option that provide a deeper nutritional value. This leaves Romaine, spinach, and arugula as good salad options. For vegetables consider carrots, peas, and grilled eggplant. For a meat, consider shrimp and chicken as a topping. Use caution when adding a salad dressing. If you are like me, you find it easy to slather on the salad dressing, but this can add enough fat and calories to make the salad nowhere near as healthy. Your salad dressing should be oil based and only about 1 tbs worth.


While not the best meal to try to eat on the go or in between calls,  soup does provide an opportunity to get a large serving of vegetables and protein. Stew or chili is a hearty lunch choice that will keep you full all afternoon. Fill the soup with chopped carrots and beans for protein and add chunks of lean beef or turkey. Chicken noodle soup can also be a healthy lunch option, as long as you use low-sodium broth, a small amount of noodles and plenty of vegetables.

So, whether shopping at the store for lunch or eating on the go, consider your options as you choose what you want as your mid day meal.

Until next week!  Remember – follow me on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

Friday Five – Five EMS Books Worth Picking Up

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Okay, so I have a few ideas about lists, but since I’m on a big reading kick (probably thanks to my Kindle Fire, though it should be my Intermediate books), I thought this would be a good Friday Five.

Five EMS Books Worth Picking Up

1.  Incident Command for EMS – Come on, you honestly didn’t think i wasn’t going to pick this one did you?  I have to get a sales plug in when I can.  Honestly though, my hope is that in reading this book you, as an EMS provider, will realize that the expectation of your role at an emergency incident are much larger in scope than you may have initially realized. It’s also my hope that this book appeals to those who may already have knowledge of ICS by providing them “outside the box” concepts on other ways to utilize incident command theories.  Available at: http://www.pennwellbooks.com/inmaforems.html

2.  EMT Text – okay, so this really isn’t a specific text, but a generic type of text. but any text-book that supports the teaching of EMT is helpful. I happen to use the Brady Text Book: http://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Care-ebook/dp/B0057E3ZT2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328290152&sr=1-1.  I’ve also used the AAOS book. Regardless, the book should be utilized to support the teaching. But, I’ve also used the text in support of my writings (articles and books) as well as review to make sure I keep up on the basics.

3.  Basic Arrhythmias by Gail Walraven – This has become my go-to book for study rhythms (which I hate by the way).  It definitely breaks it down into a simpler method of analyzing the rhythms, which helps! http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Arrhythmias-7th-Gail-Walraven/dp/0135002389/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328291950&sr=1-1

4.  I Love a Firefighter by Ellen Kirschman – Okay, so while not technically an EMS book, I think this is a book everyone should read. and while the title says fireman, the information shared and the stories told could easily apply to those in the field of EMS.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is going in the emergency services field or their signficant others, because it definitely assists in helping understand the aspects of the job that are harder to face, as well as provides some coping mechanisms. – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1593850638/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_g14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1Q4G8VB3QD2CAW9BR3JG&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

5.  The Lighter Side of EMS by Steve Berry – There are multiple editions of this text/book and honestly any of them is a good pick me up. There is so much that can impact you on this job, that finding a book that can make you laugh is always a plus.  The cartoons are well drawn and the scenarios are something we all end up saying “I remember a time when…”. It definitely gives a different perspective on what can sometimes be overwhelming. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1455726990/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_g14_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0TJ73SEXB2ECBQEFENR2&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846


So, those are five books that I think are a great addition to your library. Great for different types of uses and focuses.  What books do you have in your library that you would recommend?

Until next time stay safe and remember to follow me on twitter (@stickysidedwn)

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