With next year’s show moving from October to September, it’s already time to start thinking about EMS World Expo 2020. But before you dive too fully into making Las Vegas plans (which you should, for Sept. 14–18), take a moment to revisit some of the best of what we experienced at the 2019 show in New Orleans.
It was another hugely successful Expo, with overall attendance nearly identical to the record turnout of Nashville in 2018. From the 100,000-square-foot-plus show floor to the more than 210 educational sessions and copious special events, bonus content, and add-ons, the overall vibe was positive and productive despite the last-minute curveball thrown to local leaders by the October 12 collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel.
“The energy and excitement of the 2019 EMS World Expo was palpable,” says Hilary Gates, NRP, MAEd, EMS World’s senior editorial and program director. “It seemed everyone was infused with the jazzy New Orleans vibe. Speakers, attendees, and vendors all remarked on the quality of the conference and its multiple opportunities: Stand & Deliver [for aspiring speakers], Ask the Experts, ZOLL Shockfest, Stories from Expo podcasting, EMS research from the Prehospital Care Research Forum, the SimLab, etc. The session rooms were full of students who were engaged with the content, asking pointed and relevant questions of the speakers and contributing to a culture of learning.”
Fancy Meeting You Here
That this would be a good year was apparent from the outset, when the opening ceremonies on October 16 led to the type of misty-eyed reunion people write up in magazines.
The national anthem was performed by a local trombonist, Maurice Trosclair, who’d survived a cardiac arrest in 2017. Bystanders had been key: A fellow passenger in the elevator where he collapsed ran for an AED, and two nearby nurses quickly began CPR. EMS arrived, and Trosclair was ultimately saved, fully intact. Now he goes by “Miracle Meaux” and has a foundation, Heartbeat NOLA, dedicated to teaching CPR and distributing AEDs. He noted how happy he was to play for emergency providers like those who’d helped him.
Coincidentally, one of them had. Later in the day Trosclair contacted EMS World:
As I was leaving the theater someone stopped me. He told me that he was there helping with my resuscitation! It was so incredible to finally meet one of the EMTs who were on that call. It was so heavy, so emotional, and so amazing! We both were moved by meeting each other for the first time. He said as an EMT, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet a survivor they saved. And today…you gave both of us a moment we will never forget and now a future relationship we will carry forward! He has offered to arrange a reunion with all the EMTs that were on that call!
That rescuer was Barret Bernard, then a paramedic at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, now a CODE-STAT service specialist with Stryker. He’d been part of the ED team that cared for Trosclair.
EMS World’s editors can’t get to every class but do keep full schedules and attend and report on many they find important. Here’s some of what their coverage included this year:
SCA: How to Help Them Help
Speaker Jennifer Chap, from Florida-based Strataverve, described a “frightening” lack of awareness and understanding of sudden cardiac arrest by the general public her firm discovered in research for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Even those who’ve been trained in CPR can be uncertain how to intervene when one happens later.
The right messaging, though, can help overcome people’s concerns and spur them to take appropriate steps. Another study found providing a brief, lay-friendly definition of SCA to potential lay responders increased the percentage who said they’d perform CPR or use an AED, and two potential areas of messaging emerged as effective with audiences: 1) You can double or triple a person’s chance of survival with immediate CPR, and 2) CPR may save the life of someone you love, because most SCAs happen at home.
The release of the original film Endlessly Persistent: The Story of America’s First Female Paramedics preceded this year’s women’s panel, “Elevate, Not Escalate: Lessons From Women Leading the Way in EMS.” An articulate and impressive group of panelists included FDNY EMS Chief Lillian Bonsignore, EMT-P, CIC; ESO research scientist and performance improvement manager Remle Crowe, PhD, NREMT; Life Flight Network paramedic Eileen Filler, NREMTP, FP-C, a paramedic since 1975 and subject of the film; Wisconsin emergency and flight physician Cynthia Griffin, DO, NRP; San Diego Fire-Rescue special projects manager Anne Jensen, BS, EMT-P; Medic Mindset podcast creator Ginger Locke, BA, NRP, an associate professor of EMS professions at Austin (Tex.) Community College; and author and columnist Tracey Loscar, BA, NRP, EMS chief of Mat-Su Borough EMS in Alaska.
Their advice to young women in EMS beginning their journeys up the career ladder:
“Leadership comes easier to women in some respects,” notes Loscar. “If you have a background as a parent, you’re forced into the role by genetics… As you move up in an organization, you’re responsible for every person in that organization—their well-being, their environment, anticipating risks and helping them prepare for them.”
Find your tribe and sources of support, says Locke: “Finding that group of women who will support you is so important. If you don’t have it, create it and then bring in others.”
“Your circumstances do not define your character,” adds Bonsignore, FDNY’s first woman and first LGBT chief. “We don’t always control circumstances growing up, but that doesn’t change your potential or possibility or who you are, how you think. It just is what it is. When you’re in a tough place, it doesn’t mean there’s no way out. There is a door and you just have to find it.”
President Michael Wright, NRP, CP, and his team from Southeast Tactical led a preconference workshop on responding to active-shooter events. Wright, a captain with the Milwaukee Fire Department, conducted the first active-shooter workshop at EMS World Expo in 2016. He was joined by colleague James MacGillis, a lieutenant with the Milwaukee Police Department, and they emphasized the need for EMS and law enforcement to train together for responses that could take EMS into warm zones.
They outlined the rescue task force concept and four models of responding to patients, and then attendees got to practice. Top vendors provided equipment and supplies.
Also, it’s not too late if there were sessions you missed: With EMS World Expo On Demand, you can get access to recordings of many of the sessions at the 2019 EMS World Expo for the next year. For more see www.emsworld.com/expo-on-demand.
Finally, after heading westward for next year, come back east, as EMS World Expo returns to two cities it hasn’t seen in a while: Atlanta in 2021 and Orlando in 2022. Stay current on www.emsworldexpo.com. Hope to see you there.