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Getting into the uncomfort zone

Get better every shift with stress management and leadership insights from Aaron Zamzow and Janelle Foskett

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This episode of Inside EMS is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

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In this special episode of Inside EMS, Host Chris Cebollero welcomes the dynamic hosts of the Better Every Shift Podcast, Aaron Zamzow and Janelle Foskett. In Better Every Shift, Zamzow, a Madison (Wisconsin) firefighter; and Foskett, editor-in-chief of FireRescue1, spotlight the passion and perseverance of firefighters and EMS providers, as they dig into what drives responders to improve themselves, their crew, the service as a whole. Listen in to get better every day, every call, every shift.

In this episode, they discuss:

  • Getting out of your comfort zone
  • The issues no one wants to talk about in the fire service (e.g., recruitment and sleep)
  • Leadership and stress management
  • Managing up
  • The need for leadership training
  • How a staffing crisis leads to a leadership crisis, that leads to a stress crisis – and the ramifications on health and wellness

Foskett also shares insights from the FireRescue1 “What firefighters want in 2023 report,” into firefighter stress. Foskett notes among respondents, 46% reported considering leaving their fire department – mostly due to staffing – and a staggering 42% of firefighters are considering leaving the fire service due to their stress levels.

Memorable quotes

“In order to be a better whatever – paramedic, firefighter, EMT, podcaster – you need to get out of your comfort zone.” — Aaron Zamzow

“We’re really starving for leadership, but in the same breath, we’re looking in the maybe the wrong places, whereas we should be starting in the mirror and then looking out.” — Aaron Zamzow

“People are craving leadership and when there is a lack of leadership, that doesn’t mean all is lost; you have options, you have solutions, and you can take ownership of that and be proactive.” — Janelle Foskett

“There are some of those fire houses, they don’t turn a wheel in a 24 hour period; there are other ones that don’t get to see their beds in a 24 hour period. It’s one of the things that we now have to start to think about. We’re still running models for EMS and fire that we were running 40 years ago.” — Chris Cebollero

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The Inside EMS podcast is a regular expert discussion of hot topics, clinical issues, operational and leadership lessons for EMTs, paramedics and chiefs