EMS Tips

EMS Tips – Fatigue is Deadly – Glucagon Rarely Used – Paramedic Refresher

1. Police say driver asleep at the wheel

“An EMS provider driving an ambulance that crashed and resulted in the death of an EMT fell asleep behind the wheel, according to police.”

This tragic incident happened just a week after the release of 5 evidence-based guidelines for fatigue management in EMS.

  1. Recommend using fatigue/sleepiness survey instruments to measure and monitor fatigue in EMS personnel.
  2. Recommend that EMS personnel work shifts shorter than 24 hours in duration.
  3. Recommend that EMS personnel have access to caffeine to help stave off fatigue.
  4. Recommend that EMS personnel have the opportunity to nap while on duty to mitigate fatigue.
  5. Recommend that EMS personnel receive education and training to mitigate fatigue and fatigue-related risks.

How is your organization monitoring fatigue and proactively taking steps to ensure personnel have adequate rest and are safe to operate an ambulance, as well as deliver patient care?

2. EMTs, diabetes and glucagon

Harvard Medical School researchers analyzed NEMSIS data to understand the frequency of glucagon administration by EMTs. It’s rare.

“The study also found that 911 dispatchers only told EMTs they would be responding to a diabetic call in 44 percent of the observed incidents.”

Were there clues about the nature of illness in the other sixty-six percent of the calls?

  • Confusion
  • Acting strange
  • Not responding
  • Drunk

Drunk versus diabetes: How can you tell?

3. Paramedic refresher

With a two year NREMT and Wisconsin renewal cycle it seems like the fun of refreshing never stops. This cycle I am trying a couple of new things:

BLS Healthcare Provider renewal (CPR) – I completed the online modules and patient simulations and then went to a classroom for skills check/verification. The online materials were interesting and well-designed. The classroom check-off was quick and painless.

48-hour online refresher – I am just a few hours into the 100 percent online refresher course. So far lots of reading and lots of writing. Yesterday’s assignment was writing at least 1,500 words on how I would adjust an agency’s airway management training and quality assurance program if we had an incident similar to the death of Elaine Bromiley.

The Elaine Bromiley Case from Simpact on Vimeo.

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.