Groupon’s #Ebolagedon Deal of the Day

As #Ebolagedon continues to escalate into a white foaming at the mouth frenzy the shopping site Groupon has this special Pandemic Virus Protection and Survival Kit Deal of the Day.


That’s right ladies and gentlemen, for the low low price of just $18.99 (plus $3.99 shipping and handling) you TOO can be protected from the PANDEMIC VIRUS!!! This kit includes everything you need! You get 4 anti-micorbial wipes (1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 anti-bacterial wipes (1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 antiseptic wipes (more of those 1-inch by 1-inch squares), 4 disposable thermometers (for those random people on the subway temperature checks), a package of tissues (just in case it’s a cold and not a pandemic), 2 pairs (for a total of 4) of nitrile gloves, 2 N-95 masks, AND a whole 2 fluid ounces of skell gel (hand sanitizer) that meets the TSA packaging requirements for fluids when you get onto the last airliner out of the United States as it collapses from the zombie apocalypse brought on by the pandemic!!!

The best part? It comes with it’s own case!!!

What. A. Steal!


They’re stealing people’s money.

I’m all for preparedness. I’m all for education. I’m all for taking the proper precautions. I’m not for this over ballooned hype that results in charlatans selling more snake skin oil kits to an uneducated public. I also hate that I’m not seeing EMS agencies step up when it comes to educating their communities.

In EMS we always cite how HIPAA inhibits us from telling our story to our communities, from communicating our value, and from being recognized as the front line of illness and injury that we are. This whole episode with Ebola is a great illustration of how we could be doing that very thing by raising public awareness through sharing facts and maintaining calm in the storm for our communities. Instead we’re allowing the mass media to once again tell an over the top version of the facts and sensationalized headlines.

So while people go purchase that kit, the mass media crafts new fear inspiring headlines, and EMS agencies sit on their hands staring at each other complaining about how they don’t get the same respect as law enforcement or the fire service from their communities, I’m going to go find an Ebola patient to lick. Luckily there’s one nearby so I don’t have to go far and it happens to be at a hospital that I am intimately familiar with. There’s worse things I could be doing… like listening to Christmas music.

See you after the ebola zombie apocalypse…

Yet Another (Other) Reason Why EMS Is Not Taken Seriously By [INSERT OTHER PROFESSION HERE]

So The Ambulance Chaser has (Another) reason why EMS isn’t taken seriously. For the record, I happen to agree with him to a certain extent.

I would agree that one of our weak points is understanding the science behind what we do. However, I disagree that it’s only the EMTs and Paramedics who lack this understanding. I would venture to say that there are a large number of nurses and doctors, both in and out of EMS, who don’t fully understand the science behind what we do.

I would also agree that often times in our rush to change practice we’ll grab hold of only one piece of scientifically processed theorem and hold it aloft as the new testament to the standard of care. Hypothermia resuscitation is the most recent one that comes to my mind. The problem is that I think there is real value in the treatment, but I think that it is only one piece of the bigger puzzle. Putting hypothermia into a system without increasing the communities capacity to perform bystander CPR, having an aggressive public access defibrillation program, communicating these events through technology such as the Pulse Point app, and keeping response times down will be overall ineffective.

Too often we approach our challenges thinking there is a single solution instead of looking at it as the integrated system it is, requiring multiple tweaks and changes for an overall positive effect. There is no magic pill to solve it all, but for some reason we keep thinking we’re going to find it.

The part where I really (and when I say really I mean REALLY) disagree is the part where he says, “But EMS is medical practice. And medical practice is supposed to based upon science.

In_EMS_We_TrustYeeeaaaaaaah… no.

Medicine, even when based on science, is an art.

EMS medicine is no different and we’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. Our seeming inability to be flexible and dynamic in the care of the patient as an individual is what other professions will point to and argue that really all we’re doing is reading the manual, the cookbook, following the instructions or whatever other metaphor you want to insert highlighting our failure to think critically in such situations that require it. What’s worse is when we have providers who do just that, we look to scold, berate, and punish them for their decisions.

To be good at your art, you need to practice. Ask any artist… whether it be a writer, a painter, a piano player, or a dancer what the secret to their success is and they will most often point to two things. Sacrifice and practice.

We already sacrifice a lot for our art. Our bodies. Our minds. Our souls. We sacrifice for our art the same as the other artists do. We already practice heartily. We practice in a variety of settings. With a variety of subjects. We practice at all times of the day and night.

Yet we continue to measure our successes and failures by the highest standard of ROSC and very little else. This high standard gives us the false impression that we are failing… and when you are failing you can start floundering looking for anything and everything that may be able to turn that failure around. This creates the environment when every journal article that has just a whiff of scientific process, because science to most is infallible, should become the new standard because it’s “based on science”.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Now, don’t get all in a tizzy and think that I am against evidence-based medicine, because that is far from the truth. I will still hold the Cultists of Mechanism and their infernal Ceremony Of C-Spine Immobilization to task each and every time they try to torture those poor innocent vertebrae on that hard flat surface as if they were witches in Salem during the Salem Witch Trials.

My disagreement is that EMS, and medicine in general, is not easily defined by just one aspect. It is not just about the science, but also about the art. There is no one magic solution to our issues. It is going to take discoveries in the science, practice of the art, and change in the culture to bring us where we want to be.

Educate yourself on the science. Practice your art. Be open to change in both. Success will be ours. It’s a systematic solution to the systematic problem.

Answering The #ALSIceBucketChallenge To #StrikeOutALS

o… recently I was “tagged” or “nominated” or “challenged” to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by one of the supervisors at my agency.

Here I am meeting the challenge…

Ice Bucket CoverDoes it suprise anyone that I was a Film major in college?

So if you haven’t heard or seen anything about the #IceBucketChallenge, then seriously what rock have you been hiding under? The amazing part to me is that I remember seeing my friend Rotor Ray do it on Facebook what seems like months ago. Now it’s gained some serious traction and virality. The people at the ALS Association must be very pleased… over $70 million dollars has been raised through the campaign.

Viral Campaign Components

People often ask what it is that can make such a campaign viral. In my experience, every successful one has three key elements in common:

  1. Ease of Access – the media generated for the campaign has to be easily created and easily accessed
  2. A Positive Outcome – the campaign needs to strive for an improvement in the quality of life for a segment of the population, the bigger usually the better
  3. A Champion – there needs to be someone to really champion the cause at the onset to get it out as much and as wide as possible to increase the potential virality of the campaign

There’s also something here to be said about the long-tail effect of Social Media on these campaigns. I remember the first video I saw of this was of my friend “Rotor” Ray doing it at his station in West Virginia, and I feel like that was MONTHS ago. So even if you have all the right components it can take awhile to hit maximum velocity.

Honestly you can try to make something go viral, have all the components needed to go viral, but in the end it could be a flop compared to what your goal was. There are people who will tell you that they design for virality and can almost guarantee virality… notice I stressed the almost. In the end, there are no guarantees as to the levels of success of failures that your campaign will have.

The only thing that is guaranteed is that if you don’t try, you will absolutely never succeed.


EMS Comedy Sirens Renewed For Second Season On USA Network


The Denis Leary produced EMS comedy Sirens has been renewed for a second season on the USA Network!

The British version of the series, based on Blood, Sweat, and Tea by recovering EMS Blogger Thom Reynolds and starring Richard Madden of Game of Thrones (Robb Stark) fame, only lasted for one season in the UK.

Cookies for all!

4 Lessons To Learn From The #myNYPD Hijacking

Recently the New York City Police Department’s Official Twitter Account (@NYPDNews) asked users to tweet photos of themselves with their favorite members of the NYPD and use the hashtag of #myNYPD.


Needless to say, they got a relatively mixed result from the public on that one. Here’s just a few of the submissions they received via the hashtag #myNYPD


The backlash and hijacking of the #myNYPD hashtag should not surprise anyone, especially whoever is in charge of the NYPD‘s Social Media efforts… if in fact there is anyone in charge over there. It’s almost as if someone went for their morning coffee, saw a #myDunkin hashtag sticker on the door, and thought “Oh that would be great for the NYPD!” while failing to take into account that a) NYPD is not a coffee shop but a law enforcement agency and b) Dunkin’ Donuts biggest complaints are in the realm of cold coffee and stale donuts, neither of which causes them to convene a Civillian Complaint Review Board to address. Previous failed Social Media campaigns such as back in 2009 when Skittles made their homepage a Twitter Feed of anyone mentioning @Skittles and last year when McDonald‘s #McDstories campaign resulted in hairifying fast food tales that would make anyone cringe should have been clear red flags that this wasn’t necessarily a good idea.

4 Lessons To Learn From The #myNYPD Hijacking

Here are four things I think the NYPD, and any agency looking to utilize Social Media, needs to take away from this event:

  • Be Careful What You Ask For - It’s important to be careful what you ask your subscribers to do for you. Contrary to the implication of the terms “Followers” and “Fans“, not everyone will have a positive perception of your agency. This goes way back to when Howard Stern‘s ratings were through the roof in DC, not from the people that loved him… but more from the people who hated him and wanted to hear what atrocity he would say next. They are your audience and while interacting with them is a good use of Social Media, crowdsourcing interactions to them takes the tone of the conversation out of your hands
  • What Works For Private Companies Doesn’t Automatically Work For Public Agencies - Just because it works for one private company doesn’t mean it will work for another and most definitely won’t work the same for a public agency. Blindly mimicking others successes (and failures) will not result in a #FTW but more likely in an #EpicFAIL as this has
  • Someone Needs To Be In Charge And Accountable - Thus far Commissioner Bill Bratton is okay with what happened. “Most of the pictures I looked at, they’re old news. They’ve been out there for a long time,” Bratton said according to a Daily News article. “The NYPD is creating new ways to communicate effectively with the community. Twitter provides an open forum for an uncensored exchange and this is an open dialogue good for our city,” said Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster according to an article on CNN. The truth is that if Chief Royster thinks this is effective, then maybe we know who is responsible for this #EpicFAIL. There is no effectiveness in this what so ever, just a lot of noise and bringing old issues back to the surface to cloud the current issues. Not to mention the demoralizing effect it has on officers who, had they made a smaller Social Media snafu to less than 1% of the @NYPDNews audience, would have undoubtedly been robbed of their careers
  • Remember Your Mission As A Source Of Trusted Information - there is not a lot of glory to be found in broadcasting traffic reports or crime statistics, but it is important not to lose that focus in lieu of cheap PR pops. Sharing success stories, jobs well done, and live events from the agency all have their place. Asking others to do your law enforcement job for you wouldn’t be acceptable and neither is asking them to tell your own story via Social Media for you

In the end, this really is an #EpicFail that the NYPD is responsible for. Not only do their officers need to pay for it but other law enforcement agencies, such as LAPD, are now under similar social assault. Someone needs to be held accountable and more importantly someone needs to be put in charge who has a social clue so that this doesn’t happen again.