First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Are Justin & Mark the 21st Century Gage & DeSoto?


Friday night was the world premiere of Episode 1 of the Chronicles of EMS. It covered the visit of Mark Glencourse, a Paramedic team leader for the north east ambulance service based in Newcastle upon Tyne and author of the 999Medic blog, with Justin Schorr, a San Francisco firefighter/paramedic who is know to many as The Happy Medic.

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This adventure started almost a year ago, with Mark and Justin comparing their different ems systems through their blogs. Two other paramedics, with experience in filmaking, raised the discussion to a higher level. They documented Mark’s visit to San Francisco.

Thaddeus Setla completed a documentary about Alameda County EMS, LEVEL ZERO. For Chronicles of EMS Setla used four high definition cameras. For reasons unknown to me, Justin and Mark kept referring to Setla as the “Jedi Master.”

Chris Montera is Colorado based paramedic who functioned as the producer for the Chronicles project. Montera is CEO/Producer and Host for EMS Garage, EMS Leadership and is the Producer of EMS Educast podcasts.


The world premiere was in an eclectic Union Square hotel with wi-fi installed a week earler. Like many emergency service adventures, this event worked on a short lead time, with just-in-time (or a little late) deliveries. Watching the streaming video, the 60+ attendees seemed giddy before the showing and tipsy after the premiere.

justin4The episode was stunning, an example of REAL reality TV. Interesting people telling compelling stories rich in texture. It helps that Justin and Mark are photogenic and articulate.

I enjoyed the interaction between Justin and Mark. During the week they were filming, both posted blog updates, Thaddeus set up a facebook fan page, and a couple of dozen ems-oriented bloggers/tweeters commented on the adventure.

For some of us, the premiere finally allowed us to see the stories we read about months ago.


The first is the difference in transport options, UK does not HAVE to transport every patient encountered.

The second is that there is no charge for ambulance service in the UK. The concept that access to emergency care would be affected by the ability to pay really troubled Mark, providing a moving final scene in the movie. Glencourse

There also was a hilarious short where they acted out Mark’s perception of United States ems. Can see Zoll working on the credit card option for the 12-lead. The paramedic can swipe the credit card to process the ambulance payment before the leads are connected to the patient.


On Saturday afternoon, Setla and company set up two additional episodes.  Roundtable discussion about the Seat At The Table, sort of a “what’s next” discussion of the impact of the process in getting Episode 1 completed, changes in the paramedic profession (EMS 2.0) and a new generation of ems “true believers.:

The final episode was a round table on the impact of Social Media on EMS. Covered public education, training, HIPPA and quality improvement.

Justin and Mark will be at the EMS Today conference in Baltimore, March 4-6. Details will eventually be posted on the Chronicles web site.

Mike “FossilMedic” Ward

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