Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

EMS Today, Part I

I started blogging in July of 2008 and joined Twitter in November of that same year.

In retrospect, it really wasn't that long ago, but looking at where I've come and the things I've done since I wrote that first post, appropriately titled "The Beginning...of a Never-Ending Journey?", I am both extremely humbled and amazed to see where life has taken me.

As many of you know, I'm still in RT School, but partly due to several inspiring, supportive, and wonderful people I met through online connections (@Epi_Junky, @MsParamedic, @Medic61, @ScottTheMedic, @theHappyMedic, @UKmedic999, and @setla), I began classes for my EMT-B certification this past January.

So far, it's been a ride (no pun intended), but that's another post for another time.

My rambling has a point, I promise. Due to nothing but social media connections, friendships across the United States and even the world, this past weekend, March 5th-7th, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the EMS Today Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore, MD. I meant to write about this time sooner, but to be honest, my mind is still a bit blown by the entire excursion.

If you can grasp your head around the idea of meeting several people that you've known, looked up to, and sought advice from for a long time, but never met, well...that's the whole idea.


After a 3 hour flight, I arrived to Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Friday, picked up by Epijunky and Stephanie. Shortly after, we met Tony Olivero who is actually from the area and was able to get us to The Nest, where we all met for an early dinner with Nate Malecki (@NateEMT_B). Sitting downstairs, at a table that was entirely to packed for us to cram ourselves around, we saw the infamous Kelly Grayson, published author and blogger of A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver, and several others (TOTWTYTR and Old NFO to name a few.) At this point I was already so overwhelmed by the entire experience that I don't think I even met any of that crew at the restaurant.

Friday night, the real experience began. Many of you RT types may not know about Chronicles of EMS, but it is a project (if you will) that I have been following very closely since the end of 2009, and quite simply, a reality series by and about paramedics and EMS professionals. I'd consider it the forefront of EMS 2.0, best described as, "...the product of every EMT and paramedic who has ever looked at what [we] do and thought of how we could do it better." That evening, we arrived at the Chronicles tweetup, where I had the joy of meeting several highly influential EMS bloggers/tweeps, and the Chronicles "crew":
  • Chris Kaiser, @Ckemtp, author of Life Under the Lights, who is very cool, easy to talk to, and a bit crazy. He later learned not to leave his smartphone unattended as he hit the loo. I know, I'm hilarrrrioussss.
  • Chris Montera, @geekymedic, and host of the EMS Garage Podcast. He really is THAT short (sorry, Chris). But on a serious note, it was a pleasure to meet this guy. I love EMS Garage and listen weekly. If you haven't, I recommend you check it out.
  • Tom Bouthillet, @EMS12Lead and @tbouthillet on Twitter, author of one of my favorite blogs of all time, Prehospital 12-Lead ECG. Seeing as I'm an absolute and total cardiac geek, you can only imagine how unreal it was to meet this guy.
  • Rhett Freitz, @firecritic, co-host of the Firefighter Netcast, author of The Fire Critic blog. This man right here is about the most chill person I know, and very intelligent regarding Firefighting and several other subjects.
  • Rhett's partner in crime, John Mitchell (@firedaily), author of the blog with the same name as his twitter handle, and second host of the FFNetcast.
  • Jamie Davis, AKA the Podmedic, absolutely awesome podcaster and host of the MedicCast, which reached its 500th episode near the beginning of this year. Jamie has always been a huge inspiration for me as a student, and he was excellent about spreading word of GenMed, my own attempt at EMS 2.0, co-hosted with Scott (@scottthemedic, Meris (@medic61), and Natalie (@MsParamedic).
  • Ted Setla, @setla, founder of Chronicles of EMS. Ted is the man with the plan, an awesome paramedic, director, and inspirational filmmaker. Words can't describe how cool it was to finally put a face to the name.
  • Justin Schorr, @theHappyMedic, author of The Happy Medic, and co-star of Chronicles of EMS who is ruggedly handsome, in case you haven't heard.
  • Mark Glencourse, @UKmedic999, author of 999 Medic, and the other (equally important) star of Chronicles. Of all the people I met, I was honestly looking forward to meeting Mark the most. The fact that this gentleman was able to travel to Baltimore from the United Kingdom is mind-blowing.
  • Carissa O'Brien, @carissao, social media MAVEN (to say the least), author of Baseline Vitals, who is much cooler than Chris Kaiser and I figured she would be in person (no worries, much love to Carissa, it's just a little joke we had).
  • Chris Eldridge, @thedridge, an epic cameraman who works closely with Setla and the Chronicles team. (Thanks again for letting Meris and I use your Zune to record the interview!)
  • Mike Ward,@fossilmedic, who is a veteran in EMS and had tons of amazing stories and advice to share.
  • Jake, @medicthoughts, a person whom I recently began following on Twitter who has plenty of worthy stuff to say. Jake was very amiable and easy to talk to.
  • Kevin, @NJDiveMedic, who has an awesome job in the EMS field. Kevin was totally relaxed and probably just as overwhelmed by the entire event as I was, but it was a blast to meet this guy and I made a good friend. We actually realized we have a lot in common because a lot of what I learn in RT school, he had to learn to be a dive medic.
I met many, many other people that night that I have known solely through Twitter or the blogosphere, and I apologize tremendously if I left your name off the list, but my mind is still in a bit of a fog at the moment. Rest assured that if I didn't list you above, it's not because I don't remember meeting you, but simply because I met so many new people that I am certain I'm forgetting a small handful. (I urge you to leave me a comment or shoot me an e-mail at jared [at] genmedshow [dot] com with your name and info if I've left you out and I'll come back and edit later.)

As I said, the Chronicles tweetup was an epic experience for a young blogger and EMT student like myself. Never in a million years would I have considered that I'd be able to socialize in a face-to-face setting with such a large number of people from different parts of the country, and even the world. I'm utterly humbled at this experience and looking forward to doing this again in the future!

On Saturday morning, I woke up and hit the Exhibit Hall at EMS Today, and saw many of the people mentioned above, in addition to meeting Bill Schumm (@firegeezer), co-author of FireGeezer with Mike Ward (see above). It was a pleasure to meet Bill, as part of me has always been drawn to firefighting, and I consider this guy a highly popular person in the field.

After making my way around the exhibition floor, scoring tons of free gear, and learning about many arising technologies in both the firefighting and EMS fields, I made my way back to the stage where the live podcasts are recorded from the event. I ran into Jamie Davis, Chris Montera, and Chris Kaiser, just before EMS Garage was recording their final live 'cast from EMS Today. Much to my surprise, Chris Montera put me on the panel of the show with himself, Kasier, and Jamie. And let me tell you, the experience was UNREAL.

Instead of continuing this post any further, I've decided it will be best to break my time spent at EMS Today into a series of posts. Tomorrow, head back to read about mine and Meris's interview with Mark, Justin, and Ted about Chronicles of EMS, pictures, and more detailed description of the meetings posted above!

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