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SDN Lifetime Donor
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15+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2003
Post Doc
A while ago, when I was teaching EMTs, there were many copies of lists of "The Rules of EMS" floating around. Some listed the author, some did not. All seemed based on the Fat Man's rules from the "House of God". Anyway, here is the list I used, feel free to post yours here too.

"Always follow the rules, but be wise enough to forget them sometimes."

1. Air goes in and out, blood goes round and round, and any variation on this is a bad thing.

2. All bleeding stops? eventually.

3. All people will eventually die, no matter what you do.

4. There will be problems.

5. Skin signs tell all.

6. The patient is sick / injured / dead, not you.

7. If the child is quiet, be scared.

8. If it's wet and sticky and not yours, leave it alone!

9. If someone dies by chemical hazards, electrical shocks or other on-scene dangers it should be the patient, not you.

10. You can't cure stupid.

11. Truly sick people don't complain.

12. If you drop the baby, pick it up.

13. The first thing to do on the scene of a full arrest is to check your own pulse.

14. Your eyes can't see what your mind doesn't know.

15. Assumption is the mother of all errors.

16. There is no such thing as a bad call, but there are calls that didn't go the way you planned.

17. There is no such thing as a "textbook case", diseases don?t read textbooks.

18. If you don't take a temperature, you can't find a fever.

19. Paramedics save lives; but EMT-B skills save paramedics.

20. If you don't have it, don't give up - adapt, improvise, and overcome: then call for a second unit.

21. Any EMT, firefighter, police officer and / or scene commander who is more stupid than the patient is the real problem.

22. Heaven protects fools, drunks and those with a large "tattoo to teeth" ratio.

23. If there are no drunks at an MVA after midnight - keep looking - someone is missing.

24. If the patient vomits in the rig try to hold their head to the side of the rig with the disposable equipment, not the stuff you have to clean.

25. Every emergency has four phases: panic, fear, remorse and paperwork.

26. You are bound to get a call either during dinner, while you are on the can, or at 02:00 in the middle of a great dream.

27. If it is between 05:00 and 07:00 and you have yet to go to the bathroom, you will invariably get a call for a patient in a bathroom.

28. The severity of the injury(s) is directly proportional to the difficulty in accessing, as well as the weight of, the patient.

29. Never trust your rig, drug box, or airway bag to be fully stocked despite of the assurances of the off-going crew.

30. When dealing with patients, supervisors, or citizens, if it felt good saying it, it was probably the wrong thing to say.

31. Just because someone's license date is before yours does not mean they know what they are doing.

32. The more equipment you see on an EMT's belt, the newer they are.

33. "Newbies" have their own way of doing things.

- H


Rocket Scientist
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Dec 1, 2003
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Originally posted by FoughtFyr

21. Any EMT, firefighter, police officer and / or scene commander who is more stupid than the patient is the real problem.

- H
LOL, CHAOS - Chief Has Arrived On Scene.


Why so Serious?????
Gold Donor
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2003
Philadelphia Area
Attending Physician
34. A calm shift ends with the words "I'm Hungry"

35. Your significant other knows that "honey I am on my way home" is meaningless

36. The rig was checked but you STILL don't have what you need on a call

37. Firefighters fight fires Ambulance EMTs wait for the patients

38. Always look at in the crack between the door and the wall, Superman can see through walls not EMTs.

39. Violent patients have to deal with the police.

40. You are already a hero to some people, don't do anything stupid

41. EMTs that just got their card....know more than the 15 year veteran

42. Probies run into the house.

43. A synonym for a "PROBIE"....."Go-FOR"
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Senior Member
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Feb 22, 2003
Nutmeg State
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Attending Physician
My partner once turned to me, enroute to an industrial accident (the "last" call of the shift), and said "I could use a good trauma."

Turned out to be the most shocking, brutal, and saddening accident I have seen.

Four hours later, as we finished our paperwork, he vowed, "I'll never say that again."

Sounds like a good rule.


10+ Year Member
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Apr 5, 2000
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hilarious! i've heard many of these before back in the days of medic school from some of my instructors.

brought back some memories..........


Screw the GST
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15+ Year Member
Nov 24, 2002
Originally posted by paramed2premed
My partner once turned to me, enroute to an industrial accident (the "last" call of the shift), and said "I could use a good trauma."
Hot summer night, 1994...my partner says, "I want a trauma, or a code, or something!". We end up getting a trauma code, with a guy shot 3 times - twice in the chest, and one in the right femur, cleanly fracturing it in two. We get a save out of him, he heals in the medical center for a couple weeks, and goes home.

Great, huh? Until the dingus get shot and killed - again - last summer (2003), but stays dead this time.


La Vie Boheme
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 3, 2003
Drinking Texas Tea
Resident [Any Field]
well...you got an extra 9 years out of him....

hopefully he did SOME good in that time, otherwise its just waste.


7+ Year Member
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Feb 23, 2003
soon to be Winston-Salem
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My husband says #1 all the time. And quite a few of the others, but #1 is his favorite.
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