This blog series offers a sneak peek into the speakers and sessions at our upcoming annual conference Education by the Sea, May 10-12, 2023, in Port Aransas, Texas.
This week we are profiling Bill Justice, who is speaking Thursday, May 11, at 11 a.m.
Bill Justice became enamored with the emergency services industry as an 8-year-old boy. Justice watched a firefighter lose his helmet as the man stood on the back of a fire apparatus, getting his safety gear on for a fire. This was during a snowstorm. Justice picked up the helmet and kept it all day. When his mom asked where he got it, Justice said a firefighter threw it off the truck. His mom didn’t believe his story and took Justice to the firehouse to return it.
“That started a great relationship for the rest of my life,” Justice said. The firefighter was happy to get the helmet since they had to buy their own safety gear at that time.
Today, Justice is deputy chief with EMSA, Special Operations Division. He also serves as director of the Center for Pre-hospital and Disaster Medicine at the University of Oklahoma, where they focus on military training as well as training for response to manmade and natural disasters.
The “Why” Behind the Topic
Trauma management is an important topic for Justice to share based on the number of active threats throughout the United States and worldwide. He believes the industry needs to improve its response, collectively. When there’s been a gap, it’s usually due to a lack of training.
“It means we need to train together better and have the skills while we’re training in order to respond more effectively,” Justice said.
Take-Aways for the Audience
Justice wants attendees to understand the importance of the interactive skills discussed in the session, such as bleeding control, basic airway management, and chest wound management, all while working in an indirect threat area unusual for EMS and fire.
“When an EMS unit arrives on the scene, they’ll ask if it’s a safe scene – and usually the answer is yes,” Justice said. “For an active threat response, we’re asking them to go in where there is still a threat, but it’s a lower threat.”
Outlook for the Industry
The EMS industry, in general, can go in many directions in the future, says Justice. He believes that, collectively, the industry will continue to support one another.
“Law enforcement supporting EMS, EMS supporting fire, and everyone supporting hospital staff,” Justice said. “Hopefully, we’ll see more partnerships that derive in the near future, especially since we’re coming out of COVID and people wonder what’s the new norm.”
Advice to Those Starting Out in EMS
Justice recommends people new to the EMS industry be open-minded and take any training that is available at the time. Even if they feel it does not mean anything at that moment.
“What I see sometimes is folks just staying on one path,” he said. “If they would have diversified in their training, they could have moved from an EMS medic to a tactical medic for a police department, or a fire medic doing the same, or civilian medic joining the military.”
Don’t miss the Trauma Management session with Bill Justice on Thursday, May 11, at 11 a.m.