News and Events

American Ambulance Association 2011 Tradeshow and Conference Day 1

Today was my first day at the American Ambulance Association Conference and Tradeshow in Las Vegas. Travelling to the Pacific time zone is always a challenge because of the two hour time change. Of course I was wide awake at 0400 local time.

Running the Strip

As I like to do during any Las Vegas visit I arose early to take a run on the Las Vegas strip as the sun was rising. The strip seems to be most quiet on a Monday or Tuesday morning. I saw some other runners and a few revelers that had obviously been going strong through the night. My route took me from the Las Vegas Hilton to the MGM and back.

This was my first run since the New York City marathon. I still have some heaviness in my legs so I tried to keep an easy pace, took the escalators on the pedestrian bridge and took a couple of walking breaks. The temperature was a comfortable 50F. All in all a good first day back in my sneakers. I might do another run tomorrow morning.

Morning Session

I attended a session this morning about best practices in EMS. The speaker really emphasized the importance of employee well being to a successful organization. Some of the key observations he makes when visiting EMS agencies is that successful EMS agencies:

  • Spend more on high quality uniforms
  • Embrace and understand generational differences
  • Create intentional contact between management and field personnel including station layouts so staff at all levels needs to be near each other during the work day
  • Performance based shift bid weighting
  • Offer employee life skills education in areas like personal financial health and career coaching
  • Have an end of shift late call strategy

He mentioned an area that a lot of organizations are struggling is how to communicate with employees. Email is a struggle and many organization aren’t sure how to utilize social networking

Keynote Speaker

The other morning session was a keynote presentation by Erin Brockovich (the real Erin that was portrayed by Julia Roberts). Erin’s message was about the importance of believing in yourself and anything being possible.

Erin has made some amazing life accomplishments despite some enormous obstacles. I wish I had seen the movie recently so I remembered more. Afterwards at a book signing I was able to chat with her briefly and she inscribed a book that I am giving as a gift in a way that it is very meaningful. I really appreciate her time and personal connection. Thanks!

Afternoon Sessions

In the afternoon I attended a session about the process of crafting NFPA 1971 – the standard for Ambulance design. It was much more about the process of developing the standard which won’t be implemented (if approved) until January 2013. I was expecting more on how organizations should be preparing to implement the standard.

It occurred to me that someday we will decide that no one ever needs to be unrestrained in a moving ambulance. Once we get to that point a lot of the silliness about ambulance design will be able to go away. As long as we continue to accept this notion that there are times that a paramedic needs to be unrestrained we will continue to put people at unneeded risk and build odd features to accommodate movement.

American Ambulance Association App

I also downloaded the AAA app from the Android market. I have already roughed out a review that I will post soon.


About to start. If you are here come see me at booth 309.


Erin Brockovich Books

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.