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Reality series seeks to shape EMS dialogue

'Chronicles of EMS' will follow EMS professionals around the country

Editor's Note: 'Chronicles of EMS' is a new reality series that follows EMS professionals around the country as they do their jobs, featuring real-time input from audience members via social media. You can watch the premiere — which was edited by EMS1 Video Editor Farran Tabrzi — on the Chronicles of EMS Web site.

By Shannon Eliot
EMS1 Associate Editor

SAN FRANCISCO — Paramedic and producer Ted Setla wants to change the way EMS shares ideas.

And the key to achieving it, he believes, is through social media.

In a field where procedural changes are traditionally made among a select few and ideas pitched primarily at trade shows, Setla believes an online EMS reality series will bring positive changes to the industry's status quo.

Collectively billed as the 'Chronicles of EMS,' the reality series — in combination with other educational programming such as podcasts and discussion segments — will follow EMS professionals around the country as they do their jobs and feature real-time input from audience members via social media.

The series pilot highlights an international exchange as UK paramedic Mark Glencorse shadows American paramedic Justin Schorr in responding to various emergency calls in San Francisco. Glencorse and Schorr — who met through their respective blogs 999 Medic and Happy Medic — used the experience to learn from one another and share important lessons with their departments in their respective countries.

"We're looking to use this series to provoke conversation among EMS professionals all over the world," Setla said. "If we are able to share ideas and bring back lessons to our home agencies about how others are doing things, the industry can only get better."

Setla believes that audience participation is the key to making the 'Chronicles' concept work.

"This project is revolutionary because we are getting feedback from the audience in all stages of production," Setla said. "Not only are we asking for feedback for improvement reasons, but we're really using that feedback to shape the structure and content of upcoming episodes."

While Setla welcomes cyber input with open arms, he also hopes the series serves as a catalyst in generating in-person meetings among like-minded folks.

As the series shadows paramedics and EMTs around the world, each city will also feature a corresponding 'Tweet-up,' according to Setla.

"A 'Tweet-up' is a chance for anyone in the EMS industry in a given area – EMT, paramedic, or administrator — to meet in person and exchange ideas in conjunction with filming," Setla said. "In addition to sharing ideas behind a computer screen, the ability to personally meet other like-minded individuals and forge connections is a powerful aspect of the EMS 2.0 movement."

In Setla's eyes, the Tweet-ups are just as important a factor in changes as the filming of 'Chronicles.'

"We are able to bring people together in a low-key environment who wouldn't normally associate," Setla said. "This video-based model allows field personnel to interact who wouldn't have been able to afford to attend major national conferences."

While hopes for change have been commonplace in the EMS industry for some time, few have taken concerted steps to positively change the status quo, according to Setla.

"Decisions are typically made by the Chief in a top-down format without any input or ideas from the rank-and-file medic who is running calls," Setla said. "However, this project will allow the go-getters and educators to associate more with each other, and because of that you might start to see changes in the way policy is made."

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