Sunday, January 31, 2010

10th Annual First Responder Conference

Well, it's been a busy weekend away from my boys. I spent the weekend renewing old friendships, starting new friendships and of course, recertifying my First Responder status.

It was the 10th Annual weekend gathering of nearly 200 First Responders, EMTs and Paramedics from southern Saskatchewan. We had a few newbies, with less than a year since becoming certified. We also had some seasoned veterans, with over 25 years experience as "pre-hospital personnel".

The weekend began Friday evening with registration and a couple sessions and then a game of Survivor, EMS style.

Saturday morning began bright and early, with coffee & breakfast at 7:30, with opening remarks at 8:00. The morning had 2 sessions with a break for lunch until 1:00. Pete Lazarra, Paramedic in Charge with Chicago Fire Department, gave his first presentation "Resuscitation of the Rich and Famous". In this presentation, Pete reviewed the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Abraham Lincoln (gunshot to the head), Julius Caesar (multiple stab wounds to the back), Princess Diana (violent car crash) and Jimi Hendrix (suspected drug overdose). If modern-day emergency procedures were available to these celebrities at the time of their deaths, what procedures would have been performed, and could they have survived their injuries.

Of particular interest to many of the participants, one of the afternoon sessions involved a hands-on exploration of the respiratory organs from a donor pig. (Thanks to Drake Meats for the donation of the specimens!) We were able to examine the tongue, trachea, esophagus, heart, aorta and lungs.

An intubation tube was made available and we were able to intubate the specimen and see exactly what takes place when a ventilator bag is used.

We also dissected the heart muscle and inspected the 4 chambers. We inspected the aorta and the aortic chamber, tracing the direction of blood from the heart to the lungs for oxygenation and back through the heart for delivery to the rest of the body.

Upon dissection of the lungs we examined the bronchial tubes and discussed their function. Thankfully, a pork stir fry was NOT on the supper menu.

Supper was still delicious as always, as provided by the Heritage Inn. Roast beef and roast turkey were on the menu, along with seasoned oven roasted potatoes, salads and, of course, decadent desserts. Following supper, guest speaker Roger Aldag of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, spoke of his Career with the Roughriders. Roger is now employed with Trans Gas and has been at most (if not all) conferences as a sponsor and supplier.

Off Beat, a 5 piece band from Regina, provided the evening's entertainment. They performed hits from Loverboy, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash and Meatloaf, to name a few. The dance floor was busy most of the night as was the cash bar ;) The band shut down just after 1:00am and a few diehard partyers were heard roaming the halls of the Heritage Inn till almost 3:00am. (and we wonder why the Sunday morning sessions were short on attendance!)

Tim Hillier (MD Ambulance, Saskatoon) and Pete Lazarra wrapped up Sunday afternoon with a joint presentation "Looking Back". They touched on a few highlights in the history of emergency medical response, with a few clips from the 1970's show Emergency (starring Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe). They explained how Johnny and Roy heightened the public awareness of Paramedics and brought more people into the profession than any other medical related show.

Many pictures were taken, many friendships were renewed and everyone took home memories they'll keep for a lifetime. Mark your calendars for next year's conference, January 28-30, 2011, Heritage Inn, Moose Jaw. Hope to see you there!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a good old fashioned blizzard!

The past couple of days have been pretty rough around southern Saskatchewan. We've had quite the blizzard. Usually the area around our town doesn't get a lot of snow, at least not in the past dozen years or so. Usually a blizzard meant an inch or two of snow and howling wind. Not this time. We've probably gotten six inches or more this time.

It started snowing a couple of days ago with just a breeze, but it piled up a couple of inches of snow that drifted a little. I brought out the skidsteer and cleared the trails yesterday morning. It wasn't done, though, because the snow got somewhat heavier throughout the day. Carla was able to get to work at the gas station but we were starting to wonder if she'd be able to make it home when her shift ended at 9pm.

The roads did get treacherous and there was some vehicles getting into trouble on the Trans-Canada Highway that runs by Chaplin. Hopefully that wouldn't happen to Carla! But she did make it home...though she did get stuck at the end of our driveway into the farm yard. I walked out and helped get the van back on the trail and up to the house. We're all home safe and sound! But the storm wasn't over.

That evening we did have the power go out of 20 minutes or so. We were lucky. Some communities would be out for more than a day due to the snow and wind pulling wires off some poles south of the town of Assiniboia.

We woke up the next morning to the snow still falling and the wind really blowing. You wouldn't have known I cleared any snow yesterday. So I fed cows in the morning but held off clearing snow hoping the storm would ease off. Well, it was still going pretty strong after lunch so I went out anyway and pushed a snow for a couple of hours again. The yard was pretty full again, but the wind had actually blown away all the snow that Carla got stuck in last night. Go figure.

So I'm sure I'll be out again tomorrow building my snow piles even higher. The boys love playing on them. Mitchell lost a boot in one this afternoon which I had to dig out. It's a bit of pain in the ass to deal with all this snow, but the land desperately needs it, both to replenish topsoil moisture and to fill dugouts for cattle to drink in the summer. We've had a pretty dry few years. The last time I remember having a really good dump of snow was more than a decade ago.

By the way, the picture above shows my hay bales buried in the snow and in the distance is our neighbor's farm yard half a mile away. Below are a few more of the fun and frivolity of our blizzard!