March 10, 2011

Screening of FIRESTORM at EMS Today

Filmmaker Julie Winokur and I traveled to Baltimore last week to present FIRESTORM at this year's EMS Today conference. Although we were only there from Thursday to Friday, our schedules were jammed pack. From attending a few educational sessions and exploring the exhibition floor to meeting up with old EMS friends and networking with new ones, EMS Today was a great success as well as a blast!

Julie was interviewed by GenMed host Natalie Queubedeaux and we also met up with EMS bloggers Chris Kaiser (Life Under The Lights) and Scott Kier (EMS in the New Decade), podcaster Jamie Davis (the Podmedic), and Ted Setla, Justin Schorr, and Sam Bradley of Chronicles of EMS. We also met paramedics from other countries including Switzerland and Germany. It was amazing to hear their thoughts after watching FIRESTORM and to compare notes about each of our country's EMS and health care system.


With a turnout of about 80-100 people, Julie and I couldn't have been more pleased with the screening of FIRESTORM. The more EMS professionals we show the film to, the greater the reach of our outreach campaign. And the greater the outreach campaign, the greater the chance of successfully reducing overcrowding in our nation's EDs.

So many EMTs tell us "ER overcrowding, wall delays, ambulance diversion -- all of this is currently happening in my community too!" Unfortunately, it's the public at large who remain unaware and uneducated about our nation's EMS crisis. Communities across the US (both urban and rural) are facing the same ER problems as seen in Los Angeles, and (as many of us discussed at the conference) 'If these problems exist on a day-to-day basis across the country, then how can EMS be prepared for and adequately respond to a disaster situation?' Americans have no idea that our EMS systems are overwhelmed and facing dire circumstances. That's why opportunities such as screening at EMS Today is so important to our film and campaign's success....We need more EMS members to learn about FIRESTORM so they can then use the film as a tool for advocacy and awareness in their communities.

Thank you to EMS Today for giving us this opportunity and to all our EMS friends for supporting our film and helping us spread the word. Our nation's EMS system is made up of such dedicated, skilled, intelligent, and humble men and women. It was such a privilege to be welcomed into their tight knit community with open arms.

P.S. Thank you to our Swiss fans (Elmar, Helge, and Ra) for sharing your pictures with us!