About Us


EMS Basics is an educational blog intended for prehospital emergency medical professionals. Topics discussed here cover the gamut, but give particular emphasis to the principles and practice of Basic Life Support, as provided by EMT-Basics as well as by paramedics and higher levels of care. We focus on fundamentals like assessment, pathophysiology, clinical decision-making, and patient advocacy, striving for evidence-based recommendations whenever possible.

Most of the content here is appropriate for an international audience, but many legal, cultural, and scope-of-practice points are intended for an American audience, and may have less relevance in other areas.



It is written and maintained by Brandon Oto, a humble EMT-B with experience in greater Boston and northern California.

As of May 2013, he took a turn and went off to PA school, now working in a trauma ICU. Although not forgotten, this website has therefore been relegated to the back burner, and critical care material can now be found at the site Critical Concepts.

He can be contacted at oto.brandon [at] gmail.com or via his website http://degreesofclarity.com/, and welcomes any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or criticisms.

The Digital Research Library is supported by an additional volunteer staff, members of which are listed on the DRL info page.


But . . .

All clinical information presented here is based on the personal experiences of the author combined with available scientific evidence. Links and citations may or may not be provided for the latter; if omitted, readers are encouraged to contact the author (by email or blog comment) for the relevant literature. Personal experience should be understood as coming from an EMT with several years of experience in a variety of private systems. He has no commercial conflicts of interests except where explicitly stated.

The EMS Basics website, including the Digital Research Library (as well as the affiliated Lit Whisperers blog), is hosted courtesy of the EMS Blogs network. It is funded primarily through shared advertising space, sale of which is arranged by the network staff with no involvement from EMS Basics content authors. After deducting network expenses, residual ad revenue is distributed among the authors on the network; this amounts to an occasional honorarium. Any ad source that conflicts with remarks or recommendations on the site itself will, if noted, be declared prominently.

Personal stories told for illustrative purposes are frequently drawn from the author’s experiences, but are always stripped of all identifying information in accordance with HIPAA regulations. They may also be modified or supplemented for either didactic or privacy purposes. They should therefore be properly viewed as fiction, and not as reflective on any real-life company, patient, or region. Any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of his employers.

Although an attempt is made to give the proper context for all content, it should be emphasized that clinical and operational guidelines for EMS providers are established by federal, state, local, and agency authorities, and not by a blog on the internet. Advice or information offered here should therefore be viewed as instructional, but not authoritative; it does not give you carte blanche to violate any established protocols within your area. Careful consideration of your policies, prior consultation with supervisors and medical direction, and when necessary, online communication with medical control is always recommended to ensure you stay within the guidelines established for your care.


  1. Peter Brand says

    Hi Brad,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying your site.
    I’m about 2/3rds of the way through an EMT-A program (roughly analogous to EMT-I) here in Alberta Canada and have found the information / tips on the site to be helpful and informative. I have recommended the site to all my classmates.
    I’m heading out on practicum in a couple of months and hope to put into practice some of the great advice I’ve received here. With luck (and dilligence / study) I will one day be as good a practitioner as you and your colleagues / commenters.
    Congratulations on your second year and keep up the good work.
    Be Safe

    • Thanks! But trust me, I’m more perfect on paper 😉

      If there’s any topic in particular you’d like to see covered, float it out there and we’ll see what we can do! You guys are doing great stuff with EMS up there in Canada.

  2. Peter Brand says

    Sorry, Brandon, damn autocorrect 🙂

  3. Hi

    I’d love to write a guest post on your blog!

    The topic would be about working in New Orleans.

    I think it would be fascinating.

    Thanks and let me know what you think!

    – Rob


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