EMS Comedy Sirens Renewed For Second Season On USA Network

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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.


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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.

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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

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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.


Cannabulance Set To Hit Denver Streets Today

Beginning today Denver Memorial EMS will redirect all calls for anxiety and emotionally distressed individuals to a specially established Cannabulance that will administer marijuana and direct patients to the nearest recreational marijuana dispensary for further treatment in order to reduce emergency room visits.

cannabulance“When people talk about Mobile Integrated Healthcare, this is exactly what they mean. Paramedics doing the work of social workers because, let’s face it, the social workers just don’t know how to roll a decent blunt,” explained Chief Mary J. Lays of Denver Memorial EMS. The medics have been specially trained to prepare 6 ounces of the marijuana into a delivery device of the patient’s choice. Each ambulance has an assortment of pipes and bongs the patient may choose from or a more traditional method. Should the patient choose to go the traditional blunt method, the medics have received a full 5 minutes of specialized training on rolling such fatty blunts by a local specialist named Ja Bumbleclot.

The chief went on to further explain that the protocol established by the Medical Directors will be strictly adhered to. For patients with minor anxiety/distress, the pattern of “puff, puff, pass” administration will be established between the patient and crew sharing the delivery device. “This will really create the type of rapport with the patient that no other healthcare provider can duplicate. This is Mobile Integrated Healthcare in action!”

For patients suffering from extreme anxiety and violent/suicidal/homicidal tendencies, the patient will consume the entire dose in the delivery device. Additionally, the Cannabulance has been stocked with a surplus of Frito-Lays Cheetos to administer to these most severe cases who may suddenly become ravenous.

Acknowledging the potential for abuse by staff members, Chief Mary J. Lays pointed out that the snack stock will also be used as a detection device for inappropriate crew usage. Upon the end of their tour, both crew members of the Cannabulance will have their fingers inspected for any sign of orange food dye, a condition commonly referred to as Montera Sign by the medical professionals, and an obvious indicator that the crew has been partaking a bit too much in their medicinal and snacking stock. There have been no potential repercussions decided upon, since Chief Lays is sure that none of her staff would ever need to abuse the medicinal stock. “This whole state is full of tight-wads and mentally unstable people, so they’ll get plenty of the stuff on the grounds of building up those relationships,” explained Chief Lays, “And this is just the first project. We’re going to take this whole Mobile Integrated Healthcare stuff to a new level. If Medicare/Medicaid are going to pay us to be people’s friends, we’ll gladly do it!”

When asked if there was some connection between the Frito-Lays company ( makers of Cheetos and other fine munching snacks) and Chief Lays herself, she shouted, “No comment!” and stormed off to behind the dumpsters where she presumably continued conducting tests for tired, groggy, and lethargic patients using Toronto‘s pioneering Eight-Ball Therapy.

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#SirensUSA Premiere – S1E01 “Pilot”

Last night the long awaited Denis Leary produced EMS comedy Sirens premiered on the USA Network. Here’s a look at the S1E01 “Pilot:

Synopsis

Johnny (Michael Mosely/@MikeGeneMose) and Hank (Kevin Daniels/@KevinDaniels) work at Eminent Ambulance in the beautiful city of Chicago. At the start of the episode they’re ordered to go pick up “new guy” Brian (Kevin Bigley/@KevinBigley). Together they respond to a potential cardiac arrest where the first newly popular EMS catchphrase is uttered… “Charge up the toaster!” While working the faux arrest/actual food allergy, we’re introduced to Johnny’s ex-girlfriend, Theresa (Jessica McNamee/@jessica_mcnamee) who also happens to be a public safety jobber as a police officer.

The episode takes a number of fast paced turns from there. We get our first glimpse at the station where there’s a roundtable discussion regarding Brian’s living situation (with his parents), land a typical sexual deviant call utilizing a real thing foreign object, have a post shift happy hour, and stalk previously mentioned ex-girlfriend/police officer on a date. The episode was FILLED with hilarious one-liners, quips, and dialogue interchanges that generated UNCONTROLLABLE laughs and further solidified the characters on the show as people I can identify with. It also helped promote the use of ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your cellphone. Not only is Sirens entertaining, it’s educational!

The Sirens LOL Call – ColaVac5000

We_Barely_Get_Dental“He’s new and we’re paramedics sir. If there was a device that sucked soda bottles out of a place we dare not go, our budget wouldn’t cover it.”

“We barely get dental, let alone anal.”

Within the half-hour of Sirens, the crew finds themselves coming across two patients. The Sirens LOL Call of the episode has to do with a portly gentleman who has found himself bored at home and decided to experiment with sending objects up the wrong way of the body’s one way system. Instead of choosing something simple and organic like a zucchini or a cucumber (which he had but wanted to reserve that for a salad), the patient chose an empty bottle of cola.

After having Brian do the exam, where he confirms, “It’s up there. It’s really up there!”, Hank then sends him down to the rig for the ColaVac 5000. The patient makes a few comments before having the bad news broken that the truth is the ColaVac 5000 does not exist, and even if it did the crew probably couldn’t afford it within their budget.

Not only does this scene provide the Sirens LOL Call of the episode, but it reveals a frustrating truth that many providers feel when it comes to equipment. I did previously complain that everything looked a bit too shiny and new, which it still does, but at least they are recognizing the economic challenges that we face on a day to day basis.

Reality Check

While I really enjoyed the episode, I do have one criticism. I understand why Brian needs to sit in what we used to call the “milk crate” seat (between the front seats) of the cab, but I wish they would show him wearing a seatbelt somehow too. I know it seems minor, and maybe it’s because I came home from a day of teaching CEVO III to a class of new hires, but it irked me a bit. Thankfully both Johnny and Hank wore their seat belts the whole time.

The only other thing that caught me a bit off guard was the language. I kind of knew Leary was going to be pushing the envelope, but to be honest I thought for a minute I was watching HBO. Still, I found the language to be realistic to society today, not just the industry.

In the end, I thought this was a great start to what will hopefully become a long running entertaining and educational series.


@SirensUSA Advance Screening Of “Rachel McAdams Topless” In Review

The USA Network has made an episode of its forthcoming series Sirens available online. The episode is identified as being season 1, episode 4, “Rachel McAdams Topless and is available for viewing on their website or right here:

This series has been a long time coming. I first mentioned it back in June 2011 when news came out that Denis Leary would be producing the US version of Sirens, which is originally a UK show based on the book Blood, Sweat, and Tea: Real-Life Adventures in an Inner-City Ambulance by former EMS blogger Tom Reynolds. We got our first look at the show in December of 2013, and it was finally announced that Sirens would be premiering March 6, 2014.

With all of that said and referenced, let’s get on with the review of Sirens S1,E4 “Rachel McAdams Topless”:

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The Premise

“Why else would a guy, who’s on his death bed, ask three strangers to go to his house and erase his computer history?”

“Maybe he’s a terrorist. Oh my god what if it’s some kind of terror plot! Maybe we should call the FBI or the NSA.”

As you may guess from the dialogue above, the show is basically about what happens when a patient asks the Sirens crew to go back to his house and erase his Internet browsing history. No, that screen shot above is not what happens when the crew reads what people on the Internet are saying about the show (though it may very well could be once it airs), but rather in regards to what they find. Since the episode is themed around content on the Internet and being advance screened on the Internet, I really though that there would be a reference along the lines of two girls only having one cup, but instead they went the already trodden reference of a Horse show. Kevin Smith‘s been there and done that a few times, but this is television so maybe there’s a new audience to be shocked by it.

What I Liked

I liked the opening song. ALOT. I’d really like to download it from iTunes, but I need to know who sings it first. Needless to say when the Premiere airs, I’ll have Shazam at the ready.

I enjoyed the pacing of the show. Many shows either dump you right into it with little or no setup. Other shows take forever to get to the part you want to be and drag the setup out past its prime. In the first segment, you had the setup, they were already on a call, and you had a vague idea of how the next 15 minutes were going to be spent.

I have to freely admit that Michael Mosley as Johnny has the typical New York mentality down. I know the show is set in Chicago, and maybe its the writing, but he delivers a solid sarcastic laced straight faced performance. There’s more than a few people that he reminds me of and I look forward to seeing more of it.

I also really liked Kevin Daniels as Hank, the verbose black/gay medic. Again, he reminds me of a few people with the quick retorts, quips, and business like demeanor.

I’m a little fuzzy on Kevin Bigley as Brian. It seems to be a part that was written to be over the top to begin with as a bit too wholesome new jack. I think Bigley may be going over the top on what’s already over the top, but that could also just be this episode. At first I rolled my eyes at the whole “maybe he’s a terrorist” jump to conclusion bit, but then the more I thought about it the more I realized that probably happens more often than we’d like to admit… jumping from something that’s meh to the world is ending conclusion. I definitely liked the physical humor he performed, specifically while next to the horse.

What I Hated

I absolutely hated how clean, new, and wonderful everything looked. From the rig, to the station, to the patient’s apartments it was all so nice, neat, and orderly that I was disgusted by it. This is something that we see quite often on everything from ER, to Third Watch, to Trauma. Everything is bright, shiny, and practically brand new. The only show that I remember actually getting it right about the state of affairs on equipment for most EMS agencies was TNT‘s one season of Saved.

I hated how safe everything felt. There was literally one scene of them driving, and none of the obvious dangers were there. I get that this is a comedy, but the wholesome safe seeming environment was, in my opinion, a bit too safe.

I hated the lack of backstory I had, but I chalk that up to this being an episode that wasn’t the pilot.

What I Loved

So there’s this scene where the crew sits with Bill Nunn who plays the older, wiser, seasoned, honest, and probably slightly demented medic Cash. He offers up this absolute pearl:

“…but one time, on this job, I done what you fools did. I stuck my nose in someplace where it didn’t belong. See, everybody’s got a secret. So when you go into someone’s home on a call you want to do what you’re supposed to do, save their ass and get them in the rig.”

“The key to this business is minding your business and keeping your minds out of the gutter. Because what you put in your head stays in your head.”

Wow. I wish I had talked to this guy before writing 25 Things They Should Have Taught You In Medic School… But Didn’t, because that would be right up there in the Top 3.

The other thing I loved, Gas Station TV. I loved how they used it to open the episode in a non-EMS setting. It gave Johnny an extra-dimension to the character, but also to the profession. Let’s face it, most of us spend probably 80% of our week in a uniform. Does that define us? To our patients, co-workers, and bosses it often does. The truth is that we shouldn’t allow the uniform to define us, we should be the ones defining the uniform. I love knowing that extra-dimension about the character and it does something else too which is really more important….

Why Sirens Isn’t Trauma, And Why I’ll Watch It Regularly

There is a lot of hesitation in the EMS community about what this show means for us. When Trauma first aired the backlash was enormous for it being unrealistic and full of technical errors. There’s going to be a lot of the same backlash from the tunnel visioned providers out there who don’t realize that this is entertainment and not a training video. There is however a very huge difference between the two shows that I think will be the defining factor for the future of Sirens.

The reason why I’ll watch Sirens is because I can relate to the characters.

That’s really what the show, any show, is looking to do. Connect with people, relate to them, and convey a story. It’s really the same thing we do on a call. We walk into people’s homes, connect to them as they convey the story of why they called, hopefully we can relate to the issue through either knowledge or experience, and then we get them to where they need to be for definitive care. Yes, the steps aren’t quite the same, but at the core it is identical. I couldn’t relate to the characters on Trauma, hence why I hated it as entertainment as well.

I also watch Gas Station TV when I’m fueling up.

For All You Rachel McAdams Fans

Undoubtedly, there will be some visitors who are here because they are fans of Rachel McAdams. I won’t lie, the name of the episode provided perfect link bait for the great search engines of the internet, and I used it. So for those who are here solely for some Rachel McAdams, I don’t want to disappoint you so here’s a nice image of her from Nicholas SparksThe Notebook

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So what do you think of Sirens? Let us know in the comments your thoughts, predictions, and feelings about it…