Tag Archive | EMT

Upstate Trauma Team: Simply the Best ~

Most of my friends, family and acquaintances know that I work in the Emergency Medical Services field.  No, I am no longer an EMT as I once was (and volunteer firefighter), but I love my job and I love the people I work with.  So when I have an opportunity to share the best pieces of my career with others, it is done with great pride and respect for my colleagues in EMS that I do so.

 ** Disclaimer:  I work with hundreds of ambulance agencies, fire departments and thousands of EMTs of every level.  I do not favor any above the rest… despite the title of this post.  Every one of them is my hero, without exception.  I am not playing favorites by highlighting this particular team. **

Upstate University Hospital has an awesome Helo (helicopter) pad!  I’ve posted photos that I have taken from the vantage point of my parking lot before.  Sometimes when I come and go from my job, an emergency helicopter may be landing or taking off, and, believe me, it’s a fascinating thing to watch!  Or, perhaps it’s just my enthusiasm for EMS and my colleagues.

Upstate University Hospital's Trauma Team

Upstate University Hospital’s Trauma Team standing on their helo pad


Mercy Flight lands on Upstates Helo Pad 5-2-13

A helo recently landed on Upstate University Hospital’s helipad ~ from my parking lot vantage point.


I admit I must have a certain fascination with the Trauma Team because they work with helicopters and some of the most life-threatening injuries a patient can get.  Maybe it’s the adrenalin associated with the excitement.  Maybe I just shouldn’t analyze it so much!

But I wanted to give a shout-out to the Upstate University Hospital Trauma Team, here in Syracuse, NY.  Incredible people doing an incredible job of providing exceptional & professional trauma care!  Check them out on their website and on Facebook!

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

** Photo of Upstate University Hospital Trauma Team used with permission of Trauma Program Manager, Maryann Fields ~ thank you, Maryann! **


Firestarter ~


Back in the early ’90’s I was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician with the local village fire department out in Cayuga County.  The training, though rigorous and ongoing, was an adrenalin rush ~ not quite the rush as a real call, though.  I took all the appropriate courses required to drive either the ambulance, rescue or the tanker/pumper firetrucks, as well as become a basic EMT.  For those three years I was “on call” 24/7 as a volunteer, working a “regular job” during the day and responding to calls as needed anytime between 5:00 pm and 8:00 am.  It’s a tough job, and it’s not for everyone.

My sig other at the time was also a firefighter.  And later on, he continued as a firefighter when I left the service.  The following photos were taken at a “scheduled burn down” by Aurelius Fire Department somewhere around 1991-1992.  I took them as a spectator with a Kodak 110 film camera.  It just goes to show the “progress” of an actual fire.  Take a look and I’ll comment some more on the other side.

This is how it starts.

This is how it starts. An Aurelius firefighters steps out of harms way after setting the initial fire.

The fire "catches" inside the barn.

The fire “catches” inside the barn.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.

The fire quickly spreads to the ceiling.


You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

You can see the ceiling fully engulfed inside.

Soon is breaks out of the walls and spreads.  I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Soon it breaks out of the walls and spreads. I had to move across the street to avoid the intense heat.

Fully engulfed.

Fully engulfed.

Firefighters practice with live hose.

Firefighters practice with live hose.



The building collapses.

The building collapses. Who’s cleaning up and rolling all that hose???

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

Aurelius firefighter, Barry Bench, observes the leftover devastation.

From the moment the fire was started in the first photo until is was fully engulfed was about 2-3 minutes.  Seriously.  I always thought that, should a fire start in my own home, I would have plenty of time to get a few necessities out before the fire claimed my belongings.  Not true!  In all liklihood, you would die from smoke inhalation before the flames ever got to you… if you were lucky enough, that is!  The same goes for trying to put the fire out yourself.  A small, “containable” fire can grow to life threatening in mere seconds.  Not every fire responds to water, indeed, some fires are made worse by spraying or pouring water on them!   *steps down off soap box*

Not everyone gets to see the true progression of a building fire, so I just thought I’d share what I have.  Hope you enjoyed!

Till next I blog… TTFN!

~ Tamara Eckstadt


Vital Signs 2012 ~

**Disclaimer ~ the post that follows is my own personal point of view and opinion, and not credited or approved by my employer in any way**

 I like my job, I really do.  I work for a non-profit Emergency Medical Services agency that services Emergency Medical Technicians & Paramedics, as well as all respective EMS and Fire agencies in a five-county area in Central New York.  That’s around 2500 EMTs, and 160 agencies ~ give or take a few.  I like the office in which I work, though I wish I had the luxury of having a window.  And I like and respect my supervisor, who works very hard for our colleagues, and barely has a home life.

EMS ~ it’s more than just a ride to the hospital!

 I don’t get to see too many of the people I work with/for very often, but I talk to them and email them frequently.  I’m very proud to be involved in EMS, as I think it’s a calling rather than a job (for most).  I used to be an EMT and a firefighter many years ago in rural Cayuga County.  I was a volunteer.  That means I didn’t get paid to jump and run at all hours of the night to hope into an ambulance or drive a fire truck to the scene of an accident or to someone’s home who needed medical attention or their home was ablaze.  Okay, yes, it’s an adrenalin rush for sure to hear the siren go off and then all the flashing lights etc., but in today’s EMS, it’s not that simple.  There’s continuing education, countless hours of training ~ both in and out of the classroom ~ and that’s in addition to their full time, paying job, family responsibilities and the life they don’t have that the rest of us take for granted.

 I think that’s why it kinda burns me when our EMT’s (who often double as firefighters) whether they be paid or volunteer, get so little credit in our region.  Specifically, did anyone even know Vital Signs 2012 was in the OnCenter this past weekend?  Vital Signs is the New York State EMS Conference.  This is a HUGE thing for the state, and includes state recognition for achievements in EMS.  I am very proud to say that FOUR award winners came from OUR REGION this year!  That’s four out of ten awards given out went to OUR PEOPLE!  That’s statewide!  That’s pretty darn good!  But, ya know, I didn’t see Vital Signs covered by any local publication or t.v. station at all.  Did I miss something?  Did they cover it and I just didn’t see it?  Someone point this out to me, because I Googled it and came up with n-o-t-h-i-n-g.  Yet, let the Fireman’s convention come to town and the media is all over it (no disrespect intended). 

 Okay, so I guess you could say I’m “passionate” about EMS.  Why shouldn’t I be?  These hands-on people save lives.  I’m proud to work with every one of them.

**This post was created on my lunch hour!**

*steps down off soap box*