EMS professionals are challenged to balance work, family, and other obligations while also staying or striving for mental and physical fitness. The Everyday EMS Athlete is a regular column to recognize and learn from other EMS professionals that are setting and meeting fitness goals. This edition was contributed by Paramedic and Author George Steffensen.
Q: What is your EMS job?
I am a 911 paramedic for East Baton Rouge EMS. I enjoy my roll as a paramedic doing treatment and transport rather then working in the office in a management position. I started in 1986 as a paramedic in Rockland County. Working with Bill Toon (of the EMSEduCast) later I started working in New York City where I retired from Cabrini Medical Center. Workinng with James Hoffman (of the EMS Office Hours podcast).
Yes EMS is a small world. In 2007 I moved down south working at EBR-EMS. At my advanced age,which will be 58 in March I am an active member on both special operations teams. The bike and Special Response Team.
Q: What are your athletic pursuits and goals?
I still play basketball with guys here at EMS as well as with members of the fire departments. I jog and bike ride often in effort to keep my weight down and my cardio up. My athletic goals are to keep fit and pass our required fitness test to remain on the special operation teams.
Q: What race, fitness, or lifestyle accomplishments are you particularly proud of?
I am proud to be able to compete with my younger partners in the fit test and basketball games.
I try to represent EMS in positive light, leadship by example. Showing the younger medics if I can do these things so can they.
Each year I am involved in the EMS Memorial Bike Ride. The ride here is a single day ride going from New Orleans to Baton Rouge 68 miles. This is sponsored by MuddyAngels.
Q: What are your health and fitness tips for other EMS professionals?
My advice is find something that you can access easily. I am lucky as weather here is warm and a jog or bike ride is just outside the door. Your floor is close for some push ups and sit ups only take a minute.
Set small goals and then build on them. I know we are busy, give yourself that time to put your health first. Write down short term and long term goals. 50 push ups for example. When I set that goal first time I got 20 … a long way from 50. I would drop down and do a set of 20 wait two minutes try another set. A few times a day. Soon dropping down doing 30 , then 40 took my fit test and did 64 in a minute 14 more then my goal of 50.
Q: Are there organizations that you support that share your fitness goals?
The EMS Memorial Bike ride is a good way to show your respects to those EMS workers killed in the line of duty. I found out about the ride in JEMS in 2007. Each year I ride in honor of the EMS members lost in the World Trade Center 2001. Start your own group and plan to join one of the rides.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Being fit keeps you looking good and prevents injuries.
I welcome other paramedics to connect with me on Facebook.
Stay safe and be fit! George Steffensen
All Everyday EMS Athletes featured in this column receive an e-gift card from Road ID. Check out the Road ID information for First Responders. View past columns and submit your profile at the Everyday EMS Athlete page.