The ten other commandments

10 Simple Steps to EMS Success

ten commands

1. Learn

An incompetent EMT is a useless EMT. Know the basics. Practice. Read. Get better. Every patient deserves competent care. Provide it.

2. Teach

People watch. Everything we do is scrutinized. If they must watch, give them something of value to watch . You are setting an example to everybody on scene. Make sure it is an example to be proud of.

3. Lead

Lead, follow or get out of the way. Sometimes you have to lead. When it’s your turn, do it well. People need direction, especially in an emergency. Take control.

4. Follow

Lead, Follow or Get out of the way. Too many cooks kill the patient. Following orders is just as important as giving them. And, if you need to get out of the way you are in the wrong line of work!

5. Know Thy Patient’s Name

Say it. Even if they are unconscious, seizing, having a stroke or dying. It brings comfort to the family, comfort to the provider and eases the patient’s anxiety.

6. Know Thy Place

We are not doctors. We are not gods. We are people trained to provided emergency medical services within the parameters of state protocols.

7. Less is More

Stabilize. Make comfortable. Transport.

8. Be Nice

People call us because they are looking for help. They are not looking for lectures. Or contempt.

9. Be Cool

No matter what happens around us remember, during the call you, your crew and your patient are the center of the universe. Nothing can rattle you if your scene is secure.

10. Be Excellent to Each Other

George Carlin told this to Bill and Ted after their Excellent Adventure, and it stands true in every aspect of life.


  • A perfect list. I can’t think of a single thing that I would change…

    Thanks for sharing it.

  • Christopher says:

    IMO #4 doesn’t need the last sentence. It is not defeat to get out of someones way. How pompous to think that someone else can not be more qualified or experienced. There is a time to get out of the way! If you don’t know that, then you are in the wrong line of work!

  • Linda says:

    #5 is so important after resuscitation and scene control. Families talk to members of your community. Treating them with respect builds community trust.

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Michael Morse

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