Commentary, News, Training

European EMS Conference, EMS Today Planning: An Update from JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman

After nearly a month on the road, A.J. is on his way back to the USA and anxious to report on his trips EMS TODAY Conference planning meetings in Charlotte and the European EMS Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.


EMS Today Planning in Charlotte, N.C.

In Charlotte, N.C., the site forr the Feb 20-2, 2018 JEMS/EMS Today Conference and Exposition, A.J. and PennWell’s robust and dedicated conference team (our “education army”), led multiple meetings of exhibitors and 30 program development committee members.

With more than 700 submissions for 2018 sessions, building the program was not an easy task, but 50 committed members scored them electronically online and then chose, by track, the ones that scored highest overall and fit within the 2018 priority content areas.

A.J. also toured the fabulous Charlotte Convention Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame, area restaurants and party sites. 

The Zoll Shock Fest free party will be held at Whiskey River which will feature a mechanical bull, game area, live music and large dance floor. A.J. road (and exhaused) the Bull and challeges you to do the same.

Right above Whiskey River is the ever-popular Howl at the Moon where A.J. has already tested the rum drinks and drum set.

The pre-conference workshops on Tuesday, Feb 20th will feature an outstanding Law and Policy Summit foe EMS leaders, Management and Crew Safety workshops, NEMSMA EMS Officer Prep Courses, a full day Simulation Workshop at MEDIC/Mecklenburg EMS’ new $65 million headquarters adjacent to Charlotte International Airport, a Wilderness/Rural/Remote Care Workshop led by Street Medicine Society – John Pryor award winning Medical director and instructors Will Smith, MD, and an amazing public safety Drone Workshop featuring a National and International faculty.

While in Charlotte he and four other EMS TODAY Planning Committee members resuscitated a committee member who was bradycardic and collapsed in an elevator. 

Thanks to their rapid recognition of the cardiac arrest and pit-crew approach, the team resuscitated their fallen colleague:  A.J. (circulation), Jeremy Mothershed from Havre deGrace Maryland (perfect compressions), Christian Griffin from Baltimore County Fire Dept. (airway management, pulse monitoring and 12-Lead interpreter) Debbie Wells and Ryan Kelley (911 coordination) and Wayne Zygowicz, Littleton Fire Department (facility AED request for retrieval and incoming Charlotte Fire and MEDIC crew coordinator and past medical history debriefer).

After successful resuscitation, their colleague was then transported to Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) by MEDIC (Mecklenburg County) EMS where he received exceptional care, a clear cath lab check that day, an internal pacemaker the second day and was discharged feeling like a million bucks the third day.  Amazing, fast, coordinated care saved his life.


European EMS Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark

A.J. and JEMS reporter, exhibit and advertising expert, Jared Auld, rode the streets of Copenhagen, and then attended the European EMS CONGRESS – EMS 2017 – in the lively and beautiful canal city of Copenhagen where the resuscitation rate is nearly 50%.  Laerdal leader Torr Laerdal received the 2017 European EMS Award for Outstanding Contribution to EMS worldwide.

JEMS is the Exclusive North American Media Partner with the European EMS Congress and A.J. met with his Congress Colleagues, International feature authors, 2018 EMS Today Conference International Faculty, and JEMS International Editorial Board members. 

At the European EMS Conference, A.J. and Jared met with exhibitors who introduced “peace pipe” pain medications; citizen response developers who have created apps that can get AEDS to the patient’s side 99% of the time; introduced lightweight respirators; and a new cardiac care combination unit that is waterproof, has Bluetooth capabilities and communicates with other devices, physicians, facilities and individuals and will soon offer complete paper and memory documentation of care, full 12-Lead care and monitoring, as well as video laryngoscopy, defibrillation and real time two-way audio, video and texting.

A.J. lectured on two very hot topics in EMS: 

  • The Science that Helps Explain & Prevent EMS Burnout, and 
  • What EMS Can and Should do to Expedite On scene Management, Care and Protection of Responders at Active Shooter and Fast-moving and Demanding MCIs. 

Along with his British colleagues, A.J. and his co-presenters were able to highlight the challenging and magnificent efforts of Manchester England EMS personnel, and educate attendees about the unique nuances and demands of shrapnel bomb incidents.

He met with JEMS/EMS Today Conference in Charlotte (Feb 20-23,2018) International faculty members who will be traveling to the USA in February to talk to share their expertise with you on cardiac arrest resuscitation, use of Drones and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in EMS Dispatch, and Virtual Reality in EMS. A full day workshop on Feb 20th will feature lecturers who use drones to respond to find, deliver treatment items to, and save victims well before deployment and arrival of regular EMS responders.

You can register now at to get an extra early conference registration discount and hold a seat for one of these great preconference workshop offerings.

Home Sweet Home

Road weary, lonely for his ever-understanding “EMS wife” Betsy and four loving dogs, A.J. boarded a plane to London and San Diego from Copenhagen and started to write up his adventures and insights for you – while sipping a well-deserved rum and coke and carefully opening a bag of chips that was ready to explode at 30,000 feet.  

Watch for his updates and articles in JEMS and online at