Wednesday, June 15, 2016

To Think

What does it mean to be an innovative thinker? What does it mean to think outside of the box? What is the box?

I'll get back to those in a second

I recently interviewed for a position within my department. The position was new, something that was needed and was definitely missing in our department. It was an opportunity of a lifetime (maybe). It was an opportunity to create something from nothing. I believed and still believe that it is a position that requires a creative mind, innovative thinking and the ability to see things for what they really are. To look below the surface and find the true problems and the true heartfelt needs.

I did not succeed.....

I don't think at the time of the interview that I was able to, or didn't have a quick enough mind to answer the questions in a way that truly displays my heart and passion for EMS and the department that I have lived in for the last 29 years.

I didn't understand what they wanted. There were many things that I wanted to say, but didn't, I don't really know why. Maybe I thought that I needed to try to give them what "they" needed, not showcasing myself but rather conforming my passion to the questions they were asking. Either way it has taken me time to formulate my thoughts and ideas concerning the questions that were asked me. And a few of them I want to address here.....

To the question of creating or establishing a paramedic skills maintenance or criterion. First I believe to truly answer that question, one needs to truly understand what the real problem is. Is it that we have a skills maintenance problem, I don't think so (at least not that I have seen). The problem is that for the last 10-15 years the school that we have used to teach paramedicine has been grossly substandard. Substandard teaching, administration, follow-up, basically everything. The root of the problem is not that we have a skills problem, it's that most paramedics were never really taught those skills in the first place. Most students that came into the field came into the preceptor phase at a deficit. Most would have been better prepared if they had done online training and not sat under the teaching of individuals who had no idea what they were talking about. That is the true root of the problem. Do we have medics in the field that need help? Yes, I believe that. But it is a case by case and not the whole. Would the department and paramedics benefit from an organized skills maintenance program... I believe yes. But if we fix the true problem then we are not starting out at a deficit.

EMS state mandated CORE training. I have no idea what the heck that is. I have been a medic for 25 years, recerted every 2 years, been to countless EMS TAG sessions, both mandatory and not mandatory, RPACs and I still don't know the difference. Do a majority of the paramedics in the field know? Do they even care? We are required to have 48 hours of continuing education every 2 years, most of the time we barely get that. Are we supposed to be getting it from the nurse educators. Most people just struggle to get the 48 hours. We don't care the difference between CORE mandated classes and online Target Solution classes, we just need the hours. And how do we evaluate that......very poorly, if at all. If someone who has been a medic for 25 years can't tell the difference and frankly doesn't care because it is merely a time based criterion, then apparently someone is totally missing the mark.

How would I interact with a "non-sworn" person if there was a conflict? Really??? I would like to think that that was the stupidest question asked, but I supposed that it needed to be asked because there are people out there who don't know how to be adults. You treat each other with respect. Each idea is valid and there is always common ground when you are trying to reach a common goal. The stupid person is the one who throws his badge on the table and plays the "I'm the Captain game". That's the person I personally don't want to work with. I want to find the commonality, the areas that complement each other. Just because I am sworn and someone else is not does not in any way negate the validity of their idea. That is called being an adult.

Rehab. Do we have a policy? Then institute it!!! How hard is that. Does it need to be tweaked. I don't know. I've only seen wet towels on an incident one time....and I didn't even get one!!! Do we need to have a study of what replacement drink we need or what is the best way to cool someone off? We have rehab units, are they not doing their job? Maybe the answer to that question is maybe we need a Captain in the service center in charge of rehab. I personally don't think it is an EMS problem. There are so many other pertinent problems that face EMS today. Stock the rehab units, assign them to every 2nd alarm or greater, train the guys who man it to take blood pressures and on what is the best method to cool guys down and then document it.

Could I recall a project that I worked on that was EMS related and what did I think of it or rather self-evaluation? I chose the first ePCR. It was a piece of crap.... It still is.... But we were told this is what we are getting, there was no opportunity for input to change it. In essence we were told that this is what we are getting, this is what you ARE using..... Like it!!! So did I have to sell it? Totally did, and I did it well. The guys in my battalion were some of the first to go live with it. It was not that I liked it or didn't like it, we didn't have a choice, so I had to make it work, because that is what we do. You give a firemen a fire engine and he will put a fire out with it, you give him a problem and he will come up with a solution, you give him a crappy computer and call it an ePCR and he will learn to document patient care with it....... It is just what we do!

There was a question on how we evaluate training, feedback. We don't. Or at least not well enough for me to recognize any benefit from it. Like I said in the interview, we are very quick to criticize but incredibly slow to applaud. That needs to change and it needs to start in the Captain rank. They are the leaders. When things are good they need to say they are good and give positive feedback to the people who are teaching. And if things are bad, then they need to be at the forefront in fixing the problem.

I don't know if that was all the questions that were asked, but I wanted to share answers that I should have given. I think I didn't respond the way I wanted to was because I was too afraid to stray to far outside of the box, outside of the norm, to not step on toes, to try to give the answers that I thought were closest to the questions and still be able to interject some of my passion for EMS. I struggle with bureaucracy, that is my box. It is what hems in creativity. I cannot form committees or do studies. I talk to people, create lines of communication to firemen, other Captain's, Paramedic school, Chiefs, other departments, people who have answers and ideas to the problems we face. I then bring those solutions and ideas to my department and mold them and use them in a way that benefits the OCFA and Orange County as a whole.

Lastly, I think that the EMS Captain needs to have the skill and foresight to aim and the"true" problems facing EMS. Paramedic school, Community based Paramedicine, OCFA and OCSD helicopter debacle (not specifically the helicopter portion but the OCSDs desire to get into the EMS business), the OCFA Fire Academies, Nurse educators and field personnel and specifically the lack of adequate communication that exists in every one of these areas.

That is my passion, and that is what I envisioned for the position of EMS Captain. Sadly I was not able to communicate that in the interview setting, and honestly I don't know if it would have helped. I don't think that our department is ready and willing to move outside of the box. Our department is reactionary, not innovative. We were slow to get the first ePCR (and the one we got was a mistake). Slow to go to the iPAD, haven't embraced Community based paramedicine, are pressured by OSHA to institute a rehab procedure (which should have been done way back when we did the studies), and have not taken an active role in assuring that Saddleback puts out at least a competent paramedic student. Creative thinking and innovation are not the characteristics of our department, but they need to be and I felt that the EMS Captain position could be the beginning of that

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Friday, February 5, 2016

San Francisco

I can totally see how one could love this city. I am sitting here in a Starbucks, waiting for Shelby and just staring out at all the people just wandering by. Each with their own story, their own job and home and loves and losses. 99.99% of the people don't know the other 99.99% but their paths cross every day. Super interesting and intriguing to me. I could wander around town all day long and just talk to people. That would be the greatest job. I dropped Shelby off and I have already had a conversation with a guy from the Czech Republic who has been in the States for the last 6 months, in San Francisco for the last two, came here from Lake Tahoe, was here on a student visa, hates his job and is leaving to move to Vancouver Canada. I asked him what he was going to do there and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "whatever I can find!!!" Super interesting.

Literally every person and every window has a story. Even just sitting here there is an Asian guy outside on the side walk pretending he knows Karate .......and a guy wearing a dress and dreadlocks just walked by. LOVE IT!!

If you let it, this city breathes mundane, one dimension, black and white, but if you "want" it, there is excitement, adventure, wonder and more colors than the rainbow.

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Friday, October 16, 2015


I love the morning time. Don't get me wrong I love being able to sleep in and lounge in the bed as long as I can, but once I get up and am moving, I love the quiet and calm of the least after I get through the Corona traffic.

But one of the advantages of all the traffic is that I have been getting out of the house earlier. No matter where I work, where the overtime takes me, I am able to find a Starbucks and sit and enjoy a blueberry oatmeal with brown sugar and butter. It is relaxing and reflective.

I love these kind of mornings

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Long Time

It has been a long time. A real long time since I have written on this blog. It is about time that I return to writing. I will attempt to recap and remember some of the events of the last few years. The posts will probably not be in any kind of order but hopefully I will be able to get as much down as I can just for remembering sake...

So hang on.....

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

A TRUE Volunteer Fire Department

Found this in a Walmart in Cabo San Lucas. This is a true volunteer fire department.

In case of fire break glass, don equipment, fight fire!!!!!!

The only thing that would have made it any better is if when you broke the glass, a little firefighter jumped out!!!

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The Flight

Had a pretty eventful flight from LAX to San Jose Del Cabo. 30 minutes into the flight we got a huge jolt sideways on the plane like we'd been hit by a car and then calm......later found out the pilots had no idea what had happened and that it certainly got their attention. Ya think!!!!!! Then about halfway through the flight they come over the loudspeaker asking for a medical doctor with his credentials. I had stayed at a Holiday Inn so I stepped up. They thought it was a lady having an allergic reaction and they had her on O2 and were working her up. It was a Hypervent, prone to panic attacks. So I sweet talked her out of the tree and she was fine. The benefit of the whole adventure was that we got to take a picture with the head steward...... I think his name was.... Rob Lowe!!!!!

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Cabo..... Again

We are here in Cabo for the second time and loving it. It is super Fun. I love every part of it. The pool, the people, the food, trying to muddle through the language. Soooo Fun.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Its Been a While

It has been such a long time since I have blogged last and it is time to get back into it. The next few blogs will be a smattering (is that a word) of what some of the highlights have been in the last 9 months.

It's time to continue the "Journey"!!!!!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

My View

My view from the balcony of
My room.

It doesn't get much better than this !!!

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It has been almost 15 years since I went to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. I have been soo looking forward to this trip, me with all the girls. What was I thinking.

And if it is any indication of the how this trip is balanced out..... Check out the luggage situation.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Juicer

Ok, so Jenna and I decided to start juicing, not steroids, but real juice, form real fruits and vegetables. The problem is that we are not really good with recipes. We got the fruit juice down and believe me it tastes awesome, but the veggie juice.......Ummmm...... We almost died. It was like drinking what you could wring out from the bottom third of a compost pile. Not good.

We are definitely going to need Emeril to help us..........BAM!!!!!!!

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No way, I can't believe that I made it to 50. 50 years, 5 decades, a half century!!!!!

It was a good day, with visits from family and even though I had to work, I had a good time knowing that I had lived to see the ripe old age of 50

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Graduation Day

Jenna graduated from high school!!!!!!! We couldn't be prouder....really.

Great Job Girlfriend!!!!

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Monday, April 30, 2012


She wanted to go, she went and she came back....

She had an awesome trip. We have been able to listen to some of the stories and from the sounds of it, this is not going to be the only missions trip my little one is going to go on.

We still can't believe that she ate a fried banana!!!!!
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Boyce Ave

Last Tuesday night we went to this Concert at the House of Blues on Disney Walk. Boyce Ave is a band that I had heard on YouTube and have loved them from the beginning.

Cindy, Jenna, Shelby, and Haley Barnett went and had an awesome time. It was standing room only and the concert was well worth the wait and the crowd. And hanging with Cindy and the girls only made the night all the more awesome.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Snow Storm

Our vacation started off with Skiing, fun, movies, sleeping in, Alpine Slide, a great time, totally..... and then the snow started. It was first supposed to be a winter storm, then it turned into the storm of the season, then the storm of the century. In 48 hours it dumped almost 3 feet. I was a blast, an awesome end to a great vacation.

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The Vacation

Awesome. That is the only word that I can think of. I so needed this vacation, to get my life back, to get my sleeping patterns back in order, to hang with my family and love on my Wife.

I got all that and more.

We played games, slept in (late, like 10 and 11am), Watched movies, ate, skied. It was what a vacation was made for. I came back refreshed and ready to go. . . . . On another vacation!!!!!!!!!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Bear

Finally a vacation. I have not had one of these, truly a vacation where I get to go somewhere, away. No time constraints, no stress, sleeping in and fun.

I needed this vacation. Really needed this time away.

And the alpine is a blast as always.

Skiing tomorrow will also be off the hook.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

S - For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NASB)

O - These words are meant to comfort. Why? I think because number one we are meeting the Savior in the clouds. It is the rapture, it is the beginning of the rest of our existence, an existence with God. Secondly we meet those who have died before us. We are "caught up together with them". We see them, be with them, fly with them. Totally exciting

A - I need to be comforted by these words when I encounter those around me who have died, that we will see each other once again. And also be comforted by the fact that my Heavenly Father has a plan to get me up to heaven and he is letting me in on it.

P - Lord, help me to live like you are coming today. Give me an excitement to meet you in the sky and to look to my left and right and see my brothers and sisters in Christ. Selah

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

1 Thessalonians 4:7, 8

S - For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:7, 8 NASB)

O - God gives us specific reasoning as to why we are called. Simply, he did not call us to be bad but good. To live a Godly life, not an ungodly one. And not only does he set the record straight but also moves the responsibility to us. If we don't like it then take it up with God.. . . no one else. He wrote it. He inspired it. He gives his Holy Spirit to us. If we don't like it, then the argument lies with God not man.

A - How often do I revel in the impurity. Live imbedded in the sins of man. All the time. My argument is not with man, it is not with the words on the page. It is with the one who wrote the book, who sent his Son to die and give us His Holy Spirit. How can I argue against the Creator of the universe. I cannot. I need to strive to live in the sanctification that God provides. Daily

P - Lord, cleanse me from the impurity in which I live. Help me to live and breath in the shadow of your care. And know that my hope and security comes from you. Thank you again for the comfort of your Holy Spirit you send. I love you Jesus. Selah

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