Sunday, February 12, 2017

EMS Hobbyists

Most Emergency Medical Service providers in the United States are volunteers. Paid professional providers are statistically the exception rather than the rule. Volunteers providing emergency medical coverage to their communities are invaluable assets. They are required to maintain a certain level of proficiency to continue to certify at the national and state level. This is done mainly by continuing education hours. There is a small but stubborn subgroup however that are hobbyists. We need to do our best to weed those individuals from our ranks.

We all know who these folks are. They hold the same EMT rating as we do but they haven't provided patient care in years. They instead prefer to jump in the front of the ambulance to drive. They sport the "We do the same thing as a Doctor but at 80 mph" shirt or the "You better behave or I get to see you naked" shirt. They show up to calls in dirty clothes and open toed shoes.They have joined the squad as a status symbol or as a social group.  They do not take the onus placed on them by the community seriously. 

When a 911 call goes out the individual or family that calls has an expectation in this country of prompt, professional response. As EMS providers we owe them the best service possible when they are at their most vulnerable. These folks allow us into their house, we hear intimate details about their lives. They are looking to us to fix the problem. How we present ourselves,our professionalism, skill and decisiveness is what will provide that comfort. If we waste our training opportunities, if we don't take our responsibility seriously then we are doing the public a disservice. 

Do some self examination. Are you a professional or a hobbyist?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017

Burning Shit

Funny that something as disgusting and revolting as burning human waste in the bottom half of a 55 gallon drum remains one of my fondest memories. It happens though that some of the most mundane tasks remain in our memory because doing them allows us to reflect.

In 1983 I was in the Sinai Pennisula as part of the Multi National Force and Observers Mission. I spent a lot of my 6 month tour on remote observation posts ensuring compliance with the Camp David Peace Accords of 1979. By remote I mean in the middle of nowhere desert surrounded by concertina,minefields and Bedouins.

Our basic accommodations on each OP consisted of a long trailer house type structure that housed our communications room, kitchen and common area. There was another trailer that served as bunk room and sleeping area. The latrine was an outdoor wooden affair that had slots cut in the back so you could slide cut off 55 gallon drums in and out. It was necessary to burn the waste produced when these drums got too full.

The process was simple. You took a 5 foot piece of rebar that had been bent into an L shape and hooked the drums to pull them out. You then replaced them with an empty drum. Grab a 5 gallon can of  diesel fuel and dose liberally. Light it with a match and start stirring until the whole mess turned into a charred ash in the bottom of the barrel.

The task was hot dirty and smelly. But it was mindless. As I aimlessly stirred the shit my mind would wander to the recent past and the Vietnam War where I imagine other privates had done the same thing while gazing at the jungle. I felt a connection and in a weird way part of a tradition as I gazed at my own jungle of scrub, sand and rocks. I would think about family a lot and how much I missed them. I would watch the goat herders drive their goats along the narrow foot paths between minefields. I would run over a plan of action if a suicide bomber attempted to ram the barricades protecting our guard shack. And sometimes I would just admire the sunset and the weird beauty of the desert. Even know my minds eye can see the barren brown mountains and the Red Sea on the horizon. Its funny how an experience that was so distasteful can also be so memorable.

Gun Free Zone! Episode 011

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

CVO Gun Talk Episode 010

CVO Episode 010

Topics today are does the gun world want to actually train? Hear Mike's response to this! Be humble and train because the bad guys do train. Words to live by, relentless forward progress! Is is socially acceptable to run a 5k while smoking? And don't miss Mike's story on parachuting while in a gorilla mask and smoking!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 by the numbers

Image result for 2016
 6th year in a row for this post. Its fun to look back and see how the direction of my life has changed. Definitely less physical and more work this year. I need to work on that balance 2017. 

Running,biking,hiking, martial arts

Total miles-441 about half of last year which was half of the year before. I need to do some prioritization. But hey it isn't zero

Running/Hiking- 260.6 miles These are together as I started getting into rucking as a way to move and not irritate the Chuckster (my right achilles tendon)

Biking- 95.86 I like biking. I did some good gravel rides with CJ this year

Walking/Hiking- 54.42 more ruck miles that were categorized differently

Krav Maga and Brazilain Jiu Jitsu- 
I started CKM last December and average about 3 sessions a month. I have progressed to level 1 in that time. I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in August and also go about 2-3 times per month. I am still a very inexperienced white belt. I hope that this helps me stay in shape and just keeps me active and a smidge more dangerous. 


I did not keep as good of track of my races as I did in the past. Honestly I am not sure exactly how many I did but here is my best guess. Its in line with my previous running activity this year

1- GoRuck Light
1-Half Marathon ( Shuetzen Nein I ran half of it)
1-Trail 10K
3- Virtual 5K

EMS - I quit my job in March to work as a Paramedic full time. I doubled my call volume from last year. I ran just short of 400 calls for the year between the three agencies I work at. I also started teaching EMS classes at a local community college.

Shooting and Training
This year saw me expand my shooting and training activities. I started my own company and conducted quite a bit of training. I attended and conducted training

Shooting classes I took-2
Other classes I took-4
Instructor Credentials Obtained-2
Handgun training classes taught- 11
CCW classes taught- 10
Carbine Classes taught-3
Active Shooter Response classes taught-1
Medical Classes taught- 5
CPR classes taught- 10

Random Numbers

Years since Army Enlistment-34
Years since Army retirement-11
Years since Graduating Ranger School- 28
Years Since Graduating Q Course-26
Years since becoming MFFI356- 21
Number of jobs quit since retirement-3
Number of jobs I currently have-3 (4) if you count my training business
Number of LEO agencies I work for-1
Number of EMS agencies I work for-3

2016 was busy busy busy

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I got my first patch sometime in the 1970's. I was a Cub Scout and it was my den number on my shoulder. During my years as a Cub Scout my drive to collect badges and patches was unquenchable. I spent entire weekends as an elementary school kid working on merit badges requirements. Eventually I received the Order of Light and acceptance as a Webelo the highest badge or patch you could obtain prior to Boy Scouts.

Fast forward 20 years. During my military career you could readily tell a man by the patches he wore on his uniform. You could identify what unit he was currently assigned to, if or with who he had been in combat with, Special skills, rank etc... Everything was right out in the open to see. The military definitely judges a book by their cover and opinions were often formed and assumptions made before even getting to know an individual based on these patches. Once again I was a high achiever and was awarded many patches,tabs and badges that others were not. I was a member of an elite unit and operated with them for the majority of my career. Then I retired.

That brings me to today. I have been thinking about the new year. I have been retired from the military going on 13 years however I still think about it almost everyday. Many people know me and make assumptions about me based on what they perceive my military experience was. However I have come to realize I am no longer that guy. Sure my experiences affect my personality and decision making but ask me to jump out of a plane or calculate a demo charge and I am in most respects no better than a beginner at this point. Certainly not a subject matter expert any longer. I am patchless.

I have continued to try and fill that void however. I ran ultramarathons for a few years until an injury sidelined me. I still dabble but have looked at other physical pursuits such as hiking. I have gained some weight, pizza and I have a long and sordid history. I still try to move consistently and regularly.

I have started martial arts in the past 2 years, due to my rotating work schedule and training calendar I cannot attend as often as I need to but I have been participating in Commando Krav Maga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just long enough to realize I don't know shit.Always a good workout though. And you get just a smidge more dangerous every time.

I have worked as in EMS for 10 years and as a Paramedic for going on 3. I continually try to become the SME in this area that I used to be in military subjects. I have realized a small measure of competence but the struggle is continual and unending.  I think the best we can do in life is continue to train, continue to improve our position. Try new things and not be afraid to put yourself out there. I will continue to persevere in these areas. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Dear Friend

My friend passed away the other day. She had struggled with cancer for a long time. She once told me she knew death was inevitable but she never stopped fighting or had a bad attitude. Barb McGuire was one of the few good friends I have made since I left the military. Although she was less than 10 years older than me I always jokingly called her my "work mom."

I first met Barb when I interviewed her for a job as our Human Resources representative. At the time I was managing a security company branch of about 250 employees. We needed a good solid HR presence. Our last HR rep had walked out after a meltdown. Barb was the clear choice and we brought her on board. Barb knew nothing about the security industry but she knew human resources. She eventually learned the industry but she always provided wise counsel from the beginning. Eventually our relationship morphed from boss/employee to coworkers and then to friends. Barb was extremely loyal to me. I value loyalty. Barb always treated everyone with respect even when they did not reciprocate. I value respect. Barb always treated my children and my wife as if they were part of her family. She often said if she had a daughter she would want that daughter to be like mine.

Barb talked me down on days when I was frustrated and on my 50th birthday she had a surprise party in the office. During her last year she missed a lot of work going to chemotherapy. It was also during that year that I moved on from that employer. We did not lose touch and I checked in on her periodically. She never lost her spirit. I am going to miss Barb. The highest compliment one can get on passing is one I have heard constantly since hers. "She was a good person."

Blue skies always Barbie

Barb McGuire Obituary