When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!


As a nationally recognized motivational speaker, who speaks to small and large audiences on a regular basis, I often use experiences from my very rewarding and successful 20-year emergency services career to illustrate life lessons. I find audiences are mesmerized to hear my real-life observations as a professional firefighter and paramedic.

I have been doing public speaking since about 1986. First as a advanced cardiac life support instructor, then speaking at EMS conferences throughout Oregon and SW Washington (in person and on closed-circuit TV), and then at national conferences.

I left emergency services 15 years ago and I find that many of those experiences help me to understand the real world – whether business, social dynamics, organizational politics, or plain old real life survival.

The title of this presentation comes from a forest ranger that spoke to our school when I was in the 5th grade in SE Portland. Though it isn’t the recommended method of dealing with danger and difficulty, I have found it is often the choice of people affected by tragedy and trauma.

As a paramedic trainer, I used to teach firefighters, EMTS, and paramedics to be calm in the face of other people’s emergencies. Our non-anxious presence can go a long way towards alleviating the panic of the situation. “It isn’t our emergency – it’s our job.” Be excellent in the delivery of your service, provide a quality “customer” experience, and do everything in your power to meet the emotional, social, and physical needs of the people who desire our assistance.

BTW, my former employer, http://www.tvfr.com, is the largest fire district in Oregon and one of the most innovative in the country. Currently, the fire district views itself as the “social service of last resort.” They are not limited to fighting fires and saving lives – they are focused on taking care of the needs. (This is how to survive in an ever-changing environment)

I plan to share one of my favorite firefighting stories, one of my favorite EMS stories, and then conclude with three quick take-aways that are practical to anyone – whether manager, geek, programmer, sales exec, blogger, parent, or avid beer consumer.

Kicking in doors and spraying water is one of the best stress relievers I’ve ever participated in. Tearing a car apart with the Jaws-of-Life is a close second. But the best thing is to do what one loves to do – better than any financial reward. I’ve always found that if one does what they love to do, the money will follow.

Gary Walter

Website http://daddytude.com/

A not-so-perfect man with a Dad Attitude. Former firefighter, paramedic, flight paramedic, and EMS operations manager – I’ve worked in emergency services since I was 15 years old. Since leaving EMS, I’e found that real life often requires paramedic insight and intuition.