Screenshot of Dr. Gussick's presentation on resuscitation
Dr. Megan Gussick presents the July 2023 PIA, "Cardiac Resuscitation"

It’s the early afternoon and crews around the city gather around the computer at their respective fire stations. A “PIA” is on the training calendar for the day. Madison Fire’s medical director, Dr. Megan Gussick, appears on the screen and sets the scene:

“A motor vehicle collision with multiple victims;”

“A young adult in cardiac arrest;”

“A child with a leg injury, leaving you suspicious of abuse.”

From strokes, seizures, and sepsis to child abuse, cirrhosis, and cardiac arrest, Dr. Gussick presents a different continuing education topic each month. Known to the field as PIAs, or post-incident analyses, these Zoom-based trainings are often centered on a specific call a crew responded to within the city. Some are topics the field responds to every day, while others are calls that may happen once in a lifetime.

Though these calls only happened firsthand for a couple of crews, these monthly PIAs bring the discussion to the field with lessons everyone can learn from.

The format is these trainings is often the same. The scene is set, including the dispatch notes, response, and on-scene information of a notable call. The floor is opened up for input and discussion, and the firefighter/EMTs and firefighter/paramedics are asked their initial thoughts, had it been them responding to the scene. Dr. Gussick and her colleagues delve into the knowns and unknowns of the case, as well as what was done and what could have been done differently.

For each of these 30-minute trainings, on-duty MFD personnel from the far east to the far west of the city come together and visualize themselves on a potential response as one city-wide crew.

Snapshot of a PIA about allergic reactions
A snapshot from a PIA about allergic reactions

“I want to utilize patients that our providers have seen recently and allow everyone to benefit from reviewing the case,” Dr. Gussick explains. “I've always believed we learn best from our patients, and allowing a deep dive into the case allows that to happen. Hopefully it benefits the next patient we see with a similar presentation.”

In the constantly changing field of fire and EMS, continuing education such as these PIAs are vital in preparing our first responders.

As the PIA training ends, crews around the city begin signing off. Next month’s PIA will bring another topic and learning opportunity, and there will be many other continuing education and training opportunities in between. It's part of our commitment to be at our best— knowledgeable, up to date, and prepared to serve the people of the City of Madison. 

This blog was authored by Firefighter/Paramedic Bree Bower.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Fire and a link back to the original post.