Controversies in Fire and EMS: Reading Past the Headlines

headlines

Lately it seems the people of been more attracted to headlines and controversies than real conversations. It’s understandable in a way. If someone wants to be the center of attention, one of the easiest ways is to say something controversial. Someone is sure to refute what you’ve said, and soon a crowd gathers.

While I don’t expect to have much of an effect on this in the big picture, I hope to contribute in some way at least in emergency services to reduce the “this vs. that” mentality that often polarizes people who, if they talk it out, would find that their fundamental positions are not actually that far apart. This is true whether you’re talking in the fire service about transitional attack and through the front door or straight stream and solid stream, or in EMS about air and ground transport, or intubation and BVM. The list goes on and on.

Did you see what I did there? I simply replaced the “VS” which automatically demands that people consider no additional options, choose only one side or the other, and implies that one side wins and one side loses. I replaced it with “AND” which opens up the possibility of having a conversation about these topics and probably more. A simple change to “AND” lets us take a look at the pros and cons of each element of the conversation and, hopefully, look past the headlines that promote them so that we can consider real information and, hopefully, move towards real solutions.

It’s a lot to ask for people to try to do this and the rest of their lives. Some people say that human beings have a natural inclination to gather around conflict shouting “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”. That may be true for a lot of people, but I believe that emergency responders are the kind of people who would show up to stop a bully or break up a fight.

Headlines and controversies can be fun to read and sometimes even spark a good debate, but they are like candy.  Great now and again, but if it’s all you live off your going to get sick.

About romduck

Rom Duckworth is a dedicated emergency responder and award-winning educator with more than twenty five years of experience working in career and volunteer fire departments, public and private emergency services and hospital based healthcare systems. Currently a career Fire Captain / Paramedic and EMS Coordinator Rom is a frequent speaker at national conferences and a regular contributor to research, magazines, and textbooks on topics of field operations, leadership, and education in emergency services. Contact Rom via www.romduck.com