Finding new direction

June 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, if you haven’t noticed it has been seriously quiet on here. I have absolutely no excuse except that something had to give and unfortunately it was my writing on the blog. Between FDIC, hospital rotations, field rotations, final exams, practical exams, baseball season, my sister’s graduation, a job interview, and well you get the point. My head is still spinning but we are actually getting into our “slow” season in our house. There are many things on the horizon including a new book (well chapters in a book), Firehouse Expo, some new articles, and thankfully new posts for the blog, and a few layout changes too

I am also working on a few giveaways, so keep your eyes open! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

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


Friday Five – Plans You Should Have

March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Next Tuesday, many Virginia businesses, schools, and government offices will conduct Tornado Drills. The National Weather Service will send an alert to NOAA which will provide a coordinate effort for all Virginia’s residents to practice their procedures should an actual tornado hit. A few years ago this would have seemed a bit foolish to me, as Virginia isn’t really known to be hit by many tornadoes. Now though, I’d say that the practice of the Tornado drills is even more important, as it seems that there is no longer a “season” or a state that isn’t impacted by tornadoes.  With that in mind, today’s friday five is the Five plans you/your agency should have AND practice:

Five Plans You Should Have

1.  Tornado Response Plan – We plan for what we will do when the tornado hits buildings in our first response area, how we will treat patients, how we will safe lives, how we will conduct searches. but do we plan on how we will react when the building that is hit is our own facility?  What happens when the people who respond, can’t?  Also, how do we keep our members safe if they are in the building when a tornado warning is issued?  Do you have signs posted so they know where the tornado shelter area is within your building?

2. Mass Casualty Response Plan – Alright, this might seem like it should be common sense. We, at any point, could respond to a mass casualty. But, do you know what resources are available in surrounding jurisdictions or where the nearest cache of equipment is?  These are things that we need to ahve planned out, so that in the heat of the incident, we automatically have answers to the questions that will get asked.  These plans should also be drilled, both in tabletop and in real-life exercises so that improvements can be made.

3.  Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP)This plan provides a road map for ensuring that the agency can respond and continue to function even when the facility or the leadership is no longer there. It provides a framework for line of succession (who is in charge, when the boss can’t be) and also begins ensuring that the functions of the business can continue, even if limited, and be brought back to 100%.

4. Line of Duty Death Plan – This is a plan that I can hope NO agency has to enact, but that EVERY agency should have. This plan should cover how agencies will assist employees and their families when they are impacted by a line of duty death. It should include the role fo the agency, the role of other first response agencies, and how to provide an appropriate liaison with the family. These plans ensure that the agency is ready, though we hope it never has to happen.

5.  EMS Preplan – This isn’t one plan, but a compilation of plans. From the fire side, preplanning is second nature. Most fire departments require shifts to preplan various businesses and facilities, but EMS agencies overlook the need for access to an EMS preplan. Is your agency aware of the EMS needs at larger facilities? Are there large gatherings that could end up being a large mass casualty?  Using the preplans, EMS agencies can better prepare to the simple (and complex) response to a facility.

So, those are the five plans, that you and your agency should have.  Do you?  Are there other plans your agency has that you want to share?

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

Friday Five – Five Moments That Have Impacted My Service

March 2, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve been overly nostalgic recently, remembering the things that brought me into EMS and the things that have planted themselves firmly into my memory of my career in EMS.  There have been many incidents that have helped me, improved my skills, cemented my desire to do this job.  Today I thought I’d share with you some of those incidents.

Five Moments That Have Impacted My Service

1.  My First Call – I’m sure most people in Fire/EMS, even those who have been in greater years than I have been around, remember that first call. My first call was a syncople episode brought on by an irregular heart rate. The patient was a sweet elderly woman who was at an annual food/drink festival. I was working the standby and “technically” shouldn’t have been on the truck. I still had three months before I reached the standard riding age (16).  We transported her to the closest hospital (which is now closed) and while the ALS provider, Anne Rawls, (who played a strong role in developing my skills as an EMS provider), filled out the paperwork, the driver (a volunteer FF) and I joked about the standard cake and ice cream I was no expected to buy. It wasn’t much, but after three years of helping around the station, answering phones, and tracking paperwork, riding on the ambulance for my first call, truly reminded me of why I wanted to volunteer.

2.  Responding to the Pentagon – Like so many others both fire/rescue and civilian, I was HUGELY impacted by the events of September 11, 2001. However, I had the unique experience of actually responding to the incident and serving a tour (24 hour period) on grounds. My job was coordinating the amazing massage therapists the Office of EMS had sent to provide physical relief to the workers in the building and on the grounds. As we drove up, I remember seeing the light poles bent over like match sticks and realized I was looking at the path the plane took when it approached the building.  The people I interacted with, whether Federal, State, Local, church, private, etc., were all so willing to help in any way possible. I remember being so moved when, as I watched a group of people gather on a hill not far from activities, I realized they were family members of those who had been in the building when the plane hit. For the longest time, driving past the Pentagon on my way into DC was one of the hardest activities I had to do.

3.  Teaching/Testing out  my first EMT class – At the ripe old age of 21, I was standing in front of my EMS peers, literally, since many of them I had known for years already. I stood in front of the class realizing that I was now the expert.  I was the one that they relied on to give them the knowledge, and that patient care would be impacted by me. All but two fo the students were older than me and I had nothing but the DOT curriculum and my Brady Emergency Care text in front of me (no powerpoint for that class).   I remember how nervous I was on the night they tested, and how excited I was when I realized that 100% of the students passed.  While every class since then has been special, that first class led me down the path of teaching/instruction and I couldn’t be more thankful for each of those students.

4.  Department Funerals – Honestly, I can’t pick just one funeral because unfortunately there have been many. any time I attend a funeral for one fo my brothers and sisters in the service I am impacted. Whether or not I knew them personally, the service, the words, the camaraderie shown are always something that stick in my heart. I’ve lost money squad members that I was close with and I’ve attended funerals for fire, police, and EMS. While I can only hope to never attend another, I know that it is a slim expectation. I also know though, that during those times when we are all grieving, the support provided by those close and far away will leave a lasting impression!

5.  The birth of my children – Okay, this may seem odd, but my children have truly impacted my service in Fire/EMS/Emergency management on a daily basis. I strive to be a better provider. I want them to see that service to the community is extremely important. That when you commit to something, whether a job or a volunteer position, you give 100% and do so as a professional. I work to show my kids that you plan for anything no matter how silly it may seem. My kids have given me experience that I can take back to the classroom in my lectures, and have made me raise my standards because I continue to think that my students could one day treat my children.  I’ve also been much more aware of my safety during calls.  Why? Because I want to be able to go home to them at the end of the day!

So those are the moments. I know it’s a bit deep for a post on a friday, but I definitely think it is important to reflect back, especially at a time when you may be struggling with a decision, with a choice, with the future.

So, what are you moments?  Also, don’t forget to enter the contest for a free copy of my book Incident Command For EMS. The deadline is next Friday!

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


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:

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:

Websites I Use

Kraft Recipes: – 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 – – They actually have a portion of the website that focuses specially on healthy eating and healthy recipes.

Livestrong – – 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)!

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:

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:  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!

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. –

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.


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)

EMS Nutrition #4 – Breakfast Recipes

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Alright, well I hope you didn’t skip breakfast waiting for the delicious breakfast recipes I meant to share yesterday.  You can be sure that tomorrow’s breakfast will be great, if you choose one of these recipes!  I’d like to take credit for them, but I can’t.  I’m including the links from where I picked them up.  Also, if you have special dietary issues, make sure to make the appropriate adjustments!


Smoothies, when made with fruit, yogurt, and milk provide a dairy/fruit serving and normally provides about 12 oz of a drink. When a protein powder is added, you get the additional benefits of protein, vitamins, etc.  My suggestion is a simple recipe of 1/2 cup frozen fruit (instead of ice cubes), 1 cup milk, and protein powder.

Banana Berry Smoothie –

Various Smoothie Recipes:

Breakfast Burritos

Fruit Burrito – take a wheat tortilla, spread low-fat/non-fat yogurt, add your favorite fresh fruits, roll, and eat.

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese – Scramble eggs, brown sausage, add to tortilla and top with cheese

Breakfast Sandwiches
Prepare a breakfast sandwich the night before or just before you head out the door. Whole-wheat English muffins or bagels are fiber-packed ways to start your sandwich. Add chopped hard-boiled egg, sliced bell peppers and sliced tomatoes
Hot Cereals

Hot cereals, such as oatmeal or porridge, supply you with a healthy dose of fiber, but they can also be prepared in just a few minutes to take to work with you. Instant versions can be heated in your office microwave in less than five minutes. Pack a banana or sliced strawberries to top your oatmeal to add flavor and nutrients. Stir a bit of peanut butter into your hot oatmeal or porridge and your breakfast will also boast a good dose of energy-supplying protein.

I hope this has given you a few more ideas about the choices you have for breakfast!  Until next time!

Friday Five – Five Items I Pack Each Shift

December 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

While my shifts have been few and far between recently thanks to class, work, and family obligations, when I do pull them, I have some times that I pack. My husband and the crew I run with will probably tell you that I pack as if I am moving in.  Well, you have to have the comforts, right?  This is my list:

Five Items I Pack Each Shift

1.  Movies – I’m often the white cloud when I show up. We get very few calls, or none at all when I’m there (at least that is what it feels like). I’ll pack a variety of movies (scary, action, drama, cartoons) because I never know what mood I’m in or what mood my crew mates are in. Thankfully my home dvd collection is over 300+, so there are plenty to choose from!

2.  Snacks – Okay, so I know that my monday posts normally focus on nutrition, but we all know that during shifts we definitely snack. While I try to keep the foods I have access to healthier, I always like some comfort food. I prefer gummy bears, swedish fish, sour patch kids, or some other fruity gummy type snack. Hey, we all have our vices!

3.  A spare uniform – It never fails. The few times I’ve forgotten my spare uniform, I’ve needed it. Either it’s rained/snowed/sleeted/stormed of some sort, or I’ve come back from a call covered in mud/dirt/sweat/body goo (the patient’s, not mine). So, now, I never forget to pack the spare uniform

4.  My phone charger  – This is one of those…”Well duh!” items. It seems like it would be a constant on the packed list, but it’s not. I always try to pack both my car charger and wall charger. On those few occasions where we might actually run a large number of calls, i don’t want to find my phone battery dying when I need to call the hospital or check in with the family! Plus, I use it as my alarm clock, so I like to know it’s charged to wake me up the next morning.

5.  My computer/work/class work – Again, this is more to fill the void when I’m not running calls. I like to make sure I’ve got plenty to keep me busy, so I’ll bring work. Whether it’s homework for class (that I’m taking or teaching), work from the office, or just bills/family work I need to catch up on, I always try to bring “busy” work so that I’m not staring at the clock watching it go backwards!

So, that’s my list. While it may take me 3 trips to bring everything in, I know when all is said and done, I’ll be able to keep myself occupied and happy 🙂  So, what’s on your list?

As always remember to follow on twitter – @stickysidedwn

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