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Back in the day...


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#1 ERDoc

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:57 PM

I was recently reminiscing with a friend about when we both started EMS back in the early 90s. He still rides and showed me his ambulance. Despite how much we bitch and moan about a lack of progress, the change over time is visible. I figured I'd start this thread so that we call a wax nostalgic about our early days and give the new people a little insight into what it used to be like. This is not meant to be one of those, "This is the way we used to do it so this is the way we should do it now," type of threads.

When I started my basic training in the early 90s, we still used MAST pants and were tested on them on our state exams. We only suctioned the oral pharynx for 10 seconds because that is how long it was comfortable to hold your breath. The ambulance had 3 VHF frequencies, dispatch, switchdown (unit to unit) and hospital. There was no CAD/MDT or whatever it's called.

The jump bag in the ambulance now has a portable, automatic CO detector. There were no CO detectors back then, much less ones that could be attatched to a jump bag. We had to go through 2 separate radios to get to medical control, now it's a simple phone call away.
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#2 Ruffmeister Paramedic

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:16 PM

Yeah, reminiscing, I started EMS in 1993.

Lifepak 3, Tackle boxes for drug kits

wooden spinal boards

huge suction machines that if you ran over them with a pumper the damn things still worked.

hand operated hydraulic extrication tools

manual d-stick rather than machines that do it for you now

mast pants

no cell phones

did I mention no cell phones

UHF and vhf were it.

If you wanted medical control contact in a house or a building you just picked up the phone and called as long as you had the number memorized.
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#3 ERDoc

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:26 PM

LOL, calling medical control from the pts phone. That happened so often. I can just imagine what the families thought. We were still using Thumpers for the first few years. Those were always fun to play with but never used one on a call. We had reuseable cervical collars, infection control be damned.
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#4 Roni

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

I was recently reminiscing with a friend about when we both started EMS back in the early 90s. He still rides and showed me his ambulance. Despite how much we bitch and moan about a lack of progress, the change over time is visible. I figured I'd start this thread so that we call a wax nostalgic about our early days and give the new people a little insight into what it used to be like. This is not meant to be one of those, "This is the way we used to do it so this is the way we should do it now," type of threads.

When I started my basic training in the early 90s, we still used MAST pants and were tested on them on our state exams. We only suctioned the oral pharynx for 10 seconds because that is how long it was comfortable to hold your breath. The ambulance had 3 VHF frequencies, dispatch, switchdown (unit to unit) and hospital. There was no CAD/MDT or whatever it's called.

The jump bag in the ambulance now has a portable, automatic CO detector. There were no CO detectors back then, much less ones that could be attatched to a jump bag. We had to go through 2 separate radios to get to medical control, now it's a simple phone call away.


So glad you started this topic!
I received EMT-A training as a requirement of the LE training I completed in '91. I'm writing some fiction in which two of my important characters are paramedics. One began his career as a cop but switched when he realized that he lived for the medical calls.

I planned to use the application of MAST trousers in a scene. Are you saying they're not used anymore? Why not? What do you use instead? Is there ever a situation in which you'd use them?
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#5 Ruffmeister Paramedic

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

I remember hearing a grizzled old medic say that one form of extrication was taking one tow truck on one end of a car and another on the other and just yanking. C-spine be damned back then.
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