Why You Should Go to an EMS Conference

You should attend an EMS conference at least once in your career.

My first exposure to an EMS conference was Connecticut’s state conference. I had only been an EMT a few years – my influences were limited to my excellent EMT instructor, and the great people I worked with at Eastern Ambulance, a small five ambulance commercial services that did 911s in Longmeadow, East Long Meadow and Wilbraham, Massachusetts, while occasionally backing up in Springfield and Hampton.

The keynote speaker was Thom Dick, a national speaker, who I would years later call my friend. He gave a great talk about compassion in EMS and what a privilege it was to take care of people. He gave definition to something that I had already felt, but he was able to say it in a way that it has never left me. I also attended a number of classes at that conference, and remember how thrilled I was to learn new tricks of the trade and assessment skills that would help me better care for my patients.

A number of years later, now a paramedic, I attended my first JEMS conference in Philadelphia. I went to a workshop on airways taught by the noted airway speaker Rich Levitan. I learned two secrets to intubation that I continue to use to the day. (I use a straight tube with just a small bend at the end, and I often have someone else hold my tube, so I can use my right hand to manipulate the crick pressure till I have the perfect view, when I then have them hold the pressure in just the right spot before taking the ET tube in my hand.)

I also remember hearing of EMS research for the first time, and was fascinated to hear that many things I had thought were true, were not necessarily.

Looking back at my notes from old conferences ten years ago, many of the things they were talking then, have come to pass. The emphasis on cardiac compressions, CPAP and NTG for pulmonary edema, avoiding Lasix, the end of spinal immobilization, capnography, fentanyl for pain relief all were topics of discussion then. I heard of all of these first at national EMS conferences. Today they are what we practice in our region.

For a number of years I went annually to either the JEMS Conference or the EMS Expo. I often came with friends, and always left with new ones. There is saying, it you’ve seen one EMS system, you’ve seen one EMS system. Talking to people with other experiences is always enlightening. Wow, if they could do things like they were doing, maybe we could. I always left excited, rejuvenated, full of news to share with my fellow responders in Connecticut, and glad to be a part of the EMS fraternity.

If you haven’t been, try the JEMS Conference next February 25-27, 2016 in Baltimore.
Use this link to register:


Save $100 off registration if you use the code SCRIBE.