#CoEMS: The German Edition

A little over a week ago, a unique cross-Atlantic EMS cultural exchange between paramedics Justin Schorr and Mark Glencorse and paramedic/documentary filmmaker Ted Setla, celebrated its first anniversary.

Chronicles of EMS, now known as Beyond the Lights and Sirens, captured the interest and imagination of the EMS blogosphere, and showcased the power of social media as a source for change in EMS.

It spawned A Seat at the Table, a series of round-table discussions among industry leaders about the future of EMS, that continues to this day.

It inspired similar cultural exchanges, like the Mutual Aid series by Los Angeles paramedic student Jeremiah Bush and my fellow Louisianian, Natalie Quebedeaux.

And last week, Natalie and I had the opportunity to add another chapter to the Chronicles story, when we hosted Hamburg, Germany paramedic Niels Petersen to a week in Cajun country.

Niels got a taste of Louisiana-style EMS with me at The Borg, and Natalie gave him a tour of her employer’s operation as well, an experience she’ll hopefully share on a future episode of Mutual Aid.

We ran a few calls, made a few hundred post changes, delivered one baby, and explained to a lot of little old Cajun ladies just who was the man with the different uniform and the funny accent.

Funny thing is, he speaks better English than most of the patients we encountered.

We also introduced Niels to Cajun food, a cuisine not as alien to him as it might seem, since Cajun cooking has a pretty strong German influence. We listened to a live Cajun band at DI’s Cajun Restaurant, and had raw oysters, fried alligator, gumbo, crawfish étouffée, devils on horseback, boudin and andouille, Natchitoches meat pies, crawfish pistolettes, and of course, boiled crawfish spicy enough it made your nose run, just like it oughta.

It took him a while to get the hang of it, but before long he was pinchin’ tails and suckin’ heads like a native.

Even better, despite my weakness for Cajun food, I was able to maintain my weight loss (17 pounds since February 1, w00t!) regimen.

Of course, no visit to my home would be complete without a trip to the range. Niels is a new shooter, but we rectified that by shooting a sizable portion of the Ambulance Driver arsenal. After running a few mags through my 1911’s and my AR15, he declared his love for all things redneck, and announced his intention to invade France.

Those crazy Germans. They just can’t help it, the poor dears.

From the looks of things, he enjoyed his trip:

Chillaxin' in the Borg Cube, digesting his crawfish...

We hope to add another chapter to the story in spring or summer of 2012, when I travel to Hamburg to experience first-hand the German EMS system.