Tuesday, July 31, 2012

US Army Soldier and Olympic Wrestler - Dremiel Byers

Dremiel Byers has an impressive resume, both for his service in the US Army and for his career as a wrestler.  He is an amateur wrestler who competes in the Greco-Roman discipline.

Dremiel grew up wrestling in high school and won the North Carolina State Championship in 1993.  He opted to attend college on a football scholarship, but that lasted just one year.  He then joined the Army as a soldier and was quickly placed in the Army's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP).

Over the years Dremiel has achieved several things in the super heavyweight category:

  • US Armed Forced Champion (9 times)
  • US National Champion (10 times)
  • World Military Champion (2005)
  • World Champion (2001)

This will be his second trip to the Olympics, following his previous trip to Beijing in 2008.

At the 2012 London Olympics, Dremiel has his sights set on Gold.  Before his grandfather passed away he promised his grandfather he would bring home an Olympic Gold medal.  He wants to fulfill that promise!

As a Sergeant 1st Class Army soldier, Dremiel is based in Fort Carson, CO.  And he is on Active Duty in the Quartermaster Corps.

The Olympic Wrestling schedule starts on Sunday, August 5th

Check out this video from the US Army and Dremiel Byers!

And Go Team USA!!

Police Officer Coaching US Badminton - Ben Lee

When he's not patrolling for the Palo Alto Police Department, Ben Lee is coaching the US Badminton Team.  In January he was officially chosen to coach Team USA at the 2012 London Olympics!  In fact, he got the call while on-duty as a Police Officer.

Ben competed as the captain of the US Badminton Team in Barcelona (1992) - when he was hitting the birdie 180 MPH!  He has now gone on to lead a Badminton Academy in Fremont, CA.  And he has big goals for the US program, saying he "would like to see the US become a badminton powerhouse."

Ben says his work as a Police Officer has made him a better Coach.  He was recently asked if his training in law enforcement helps.  He said, "I think it does.  I think the discipline, the mindset of waking up early, training.  When you set your mind to something, just be disciplined and stay with that."

Go Team USA!!

The badminton team plays from July 28 - Aug 5 at Wembley Arena, here's the schedule

And you can see Ben talk about it first-hand, right here...

Monday, July 30, 2012

EMT Going for Gold - Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison has a history of success!  And she'll be going for Gold in London.  Kayla competes in Judo and would be the first American man or woman to ever win Olympic Gold in this event!!

Go Kayla!  Go Team USA!!

And back home, in Boston, Kayla has more than just Judo on her mind.  She recently received her EMT certification.  After retiring from Judo, she wants to become a Firefighter - she is #1 on the list of hires at the Marblehead Fire Department.  And she is currently engaged - to a Firefighter!  CONGRATS!!

Click here for Kayla's complete story via ESPN

Here's a complete schedule of Olympic Judo events

And check out this video from one of Kayla's recent matches...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Firefighter AND Olympian - Jimmy Watkins

The 2012 London Olympics are here!  Go Team USA!!

One amazing aspect of the Olympics is that these athletes have the patience to train for 4 long years before competing on this famous international stage.  And because the Games occur every 4 years, most Olympians will only compete in them a couple times.  Maybe this is extraordinary to me because I'm (personally) impatient.  But the enduring stories of Olympic athletes are truly inspiring!

So here's a great Olympic story.  Jimmy Watkins competes for the USA Cycling team as a sprinter.  Most Olympians dedicate their full-time attention to training.  But not Jimmy.  He's a husband, a father, a firefighter... and then an athlete.

Jimmy is a firefighter in Bakersfield, CA (Kern County, Station 55).  His experience is primarily as a hotshot (wildland firefighter), so he'll be missed during this active wildfire season.  And incidentally, he went to Colorado Springs last month to train with his team in the altitude.  But due to smoke from the very wildfires he would normally be fighting his cycling team had to relocate to Los Angeles.

Jimmy starting cycling when he was 21 years old to train for his firefighting job, but he quickly realized there might be more.  And his competitive drive now has competing in the 2012 London Olympics!!

Go Team USA!

Click here for a great video clip...  Jimmy Watkins on Bakersfield News17

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hero In Action, Santa Barbara County Fire Dept

Police, Fire and EMS professionals go to great lengths to perform at a high level.

Driving their performance is:
  • Personal Courage and Bravery

Aiding their performance is:
  • Great Training
  • Strong Team Members
  • Experienced Skills
  • Injured Parties who Cooperate
  • The Right Safety Gear
  • A Belief in the Mission of Public Safety

So from time to time we'll feature the story of a "Hero In Action"

This is the first installment

Date:   Jan 12, 2012
Place:  Hwy 101 along the Central Coast of CA
Hero:  Santa Barbara County Fire Department and US Navy Seebees

Sometime mid-afternoon an empty gravel truck rear-ended a BMW sedan, while on a bridge.  The BMW was forced into the center railing of the bridge and the car was left literally dangling over the edge.

The truck descended some 75 feet over the side of the bridge, which caused a fiery explosion and the death of the truck's driver.

Inside the car was a 40-year old mother, her 10-year old daughter and her 10-week old baby.  Again, teetering over the side of the bridge.

As rescue workers sought to save the family, they obviously battled some extreme dangers.  One of their greatest challenges was gaining the right safety gear to complete this rescue.  Fortunately US Navy Seebees (a Navy construction crew) were driving by and stopped to lend a hand!

What the Seebees offered was a large forklift they had with them, which became the perfect equipment for completing this rescue.

Hats off to the Santa Barbara County Fire Dept and the US Navy Seebees.  And here's a couple video news stories...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Doing More With Less?

As you know, Public Safety professionals are very busy... from Police to Fire to EMS.

But Public Safety budgets are being cut all across our country.  Here's a few examples:

Ok, that's more than "a few."  But I'll stop here since I think you agree this trend of Public Safety budget cuts is a hot topic.

So what's the result of these cuts?  Well, imagine this...

You get sick or injured and head in to your local Urgent Care or ER.  Under normal conditions you expect... a short wait in the lobby... a brief visit with a triage nurse... a longer visit with a doctor... and current medical equipment and supplies to help you recover.

But!  If budget cuts have recently hit that facility, you are more likely to experience a lower level of service... perhaps a longer wait in the lobby because a receptionist was let go... perhaps a longer wait in triage because a nurse was let go, but the same number of patients need to be triaged... perhaps shorter and less frequent visits from a doctor for the same reason - same number of patients, less number of doctors... and perhaps outdated equipment and supplies are being used because more current ones were not budgeted.

Los Angeles Fire Department is a good example.  A recent audit found that (following recent budget cuts) LAFD now takes longer to respond to medical calls.

Rarely have we read of Police, Fire or EMS being lazy.  Public Safety professionals are widely regarded as hardworking and dedicated public servants who give 100% to their jobs, despite holding the most stressful jobs available.

So here's the question... how far can we push the idea of "Doing More With Less?"

To what extent can less resources be made up for with increased productivity?

And how can Public Safety professionals properly communicate the tension of this trade-off to the public.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stryker's new Power-LOAD

Stryker has now released its new Power-LOAD system, which is focused on reducing the number of back injuries sustained by EMTs.  Some reports say 47% of medics have suffered a back injury while performing EMS duties.  So the need for relief is real.

The National EMS Assessment was recently released by EMS.gov, which estimates that in 2011 in the US:

  • 36 million EMS events occurred
  • 28 million EMS transports occurred
Wow, that's a lot of EMS calls and transporting of patients!!

The Power-LOAD system allows EMTs to load and unload patients with the simple touch of a button.  Too good to be true?  Here's where you can read more info about the Power-LOAD system.

Let us know if you have questions or need help installing it!

Home Fire Sprinklers

Did you know 3 states now require fire sprinklers to be installed in all new home construction?  These states include California, Maryland and South Carolina.  And the NFPA is working to get this same requirement passed in the other 47 states.

You might ask why this is necessary.  The reason is because research reports, and the stories of firefighters themselves, point to significant savings of life and property when sprinklers are present.

The goal of the NFPA is to reduce (1) the loss of life and (2) the loss of property caused by fire.  Over the years, the NFPA (and others) have been very successful.  Now fire sprinklers in every new home is the current cause driving their mission.

To personalize their message, the NFPA has launched the "Faces of Fire" which tell stories of people dramatically affected by home fires.  Here is one story:

We have mentioned many times on this blog that medical calls consume the vast majority of a Fire Department's work.  But the dangers of fire - in its various forms - is no less serious.

Friday, July 6, 2012

MLB Star to Become an EMT-Firefighter

UPDATE:  Bryce Harper was added to the 2012 MLB All Star Team!!

If you haven't heard of Bryce Harper, then you must not care about baseball.  Bryce Harper is a rising (19 year-old) star for the Washington Nationals.  So much so that he narrowly missed a roster spot on the All Star Team this year!

But he's not getting ahead of himself.  When asked this week what he would do if he weren't playing baseball, he stated his desire to be a Firefighter.  And in case his job in baseball doesn't work out, Bryce plans to spend the offseason getting his EMT training - so he can "do the firefighting thing."  He said its to give him something to fall back on :-)

Well, its an honorable profession.  Doesn't pay as much as the MLB.  And firefighting is more stressful.    But it's rewarding, which is why a huge majority of the 1.2 million US firefighters are volunteers!  And Bryce knows what he's talking about when he says he'll focus on getting his EMT, since 70% of the calls to fire departments are for medical reasons.

Hats off to Bryce Harper, and the heroes who "do the firefighting thing."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Community Paramedicine

If you live in a big city you may not realize this... but almost 75 million Americans live more than 50 miles from the nearest medical clinic and hospital!

For me, in the Los Angeles metro area with 15 million Angelenos (and nearly that many Starbucks!), this can be hard to imagine.  But 25% of the US population lives a very long distance from primary medical care.  What can be done to bridge this gap?

One idea takes local paramedics and EMTs (often in the local Fire Department) and expands their training to help them become Community Paramedics.  Following this training, Community Paramedics support a regional healthcare system by staying in their rural setting and offering various medical services.

Already, about 70% of the calls to a Fire Department are medical related.  But in rural settings the volume of calls can be fairly low.  The concept of Community Paramedicine takes the underutilized services of a Fire Department and connects them to a local population for more than just Emergency Medicine.

Community Paramedics can be trained to offer services such as:
  • Primary Care
  • Public Health
  • Disease Management
  • Prevention and Wellness
  • Mental Health
  • Dental Care
If you are currently pursuing a paramedic program, or know someone who is, consider this one - Community Paramedicine.