EMS Education Tips

You Didn't Have to Help but You Did …

… and before I could even ask there you were at my side helping me.

Feces Everywhere
Remember that time when the elderly lady had lain for hours in her own feces? I had already told you it was OK to leave, but you lingered for a moment. Then I knew why. Without hesitating you were at my side and with great compassion, a smile, and a twinkle in your eye you helped me roll her tenderly onto a blanket. Thank you, firefighter.

Cold Wet Rain
Remember that time the distraught person was sitting on the curb in the rain? Since they were not a danger to me, themselves, or others you did not need to be there but you were. Standing next to me. I noticed when you changed position to block the patient from the cold wind. Thank you, police officer.

Groceries on the Counter
Remember that time when the patient complained of chest pain while bringing in his groceries? Vitals and pain were assessed. The patient was in a position of comfort. You looked on the counter and noticed the unfinished groceries. Next thing I knew you were carrying the rest of the groceries into the house and putting them away. Thank you, first responder.

Blood Stained Carpet
Remember the time we responded to a lady that fell? Our patient had slipped and hit her head on the floor. You had controlled the head laceration bleeding before we arrived. While we were securing the patient for transport you were on your hands and knees scrubbing the carpet clean. Thank you, first responder.

You didn’t have to help, but you did. I am so grateful for all of the times other members of the emergency response team stepped up to help. Not because they had to. Not because I was going to ask them. Not because it was their job. They stepped up because they wanted to. The “it’s not my job” attitude is not the norm; it is the exception.

I could write a hundred more anecdotes similar to these. I am sure you could too. Share your story in the comments about a time someone didn’t have to help but they did.


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.