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35 Must-Read Books for EMTs and Paramedics

35 Paramedic books and EMT book Graphic

This article includes a variety of great EMT books and paramedic books for training, education and casual reading. There are autobiographical EMT books written by former and active members of EMS along with fun fictional stories that contain characters working in ambulances or other prehospital settings. The paramedic books are separated by whether they are good for learning and career improvement or for casual reading. There are no NCLEX testing or study guides included in this posting, I will be putting one together soon that is specific to studying for the National Registry Exams.

Included in this page are:

12 EMT Books Written by EMS

6 Fictional EMT Books

7 Educational Paramedic Books

5 Paramedic Books for casual reading 

4 EMT Training Books 

→ Bonus Book for Everyone

EMT Books Written by EMS

All twelve of these EMT books are written by current or past EMS providers and most of them are non-fiction or autobiographical EMS books. These are individual stories of working as EMTs and paramedics in different cities and states. You can also find the unique EMT book Fresh Out of EMT School in this section. I enjoy supporting our talented brothers and sisters in EMS and hopefully with support they will keep creating compelling stories for us to read.


• Population: 485 – Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time

Author: Michael Perry Publication Date: 2007 

Population 485 is a story about returning to life in a small town after a decade long absence. Perry serves on the local Volunteer Fire and Rescue Team in New Auburn, Wisconsin and he tells the story of meeting people in his hometown through service work. If you don’t know the importance of volunteer EMS in rural areas, please see the side note below about volunteer EMS. It’s under the EMT book EMT: Beyond the Lights and Sirens.

Population 485 is a story that’s more about small town living than it is about EMS. It’s full of quirky characters and Perry is a talented writer who just happens to work in EMS. In fact, Perry has published many other books about small town life.

In a town of 485 people Perry tells compelling stories of his life and experiences on the Fire and Rescue Squad within a rural backdrop. I recommend this EMT book for anyone who wants to relax and enjoy an EMS book of stories that take place in a rural American setting. 

Perry has stated that of all his experiences, “the single most meaningful thing he has ever done is serve 12 years beside his neighbors on the New Auburn Area Fire Department.” He is clearly a dedicated member of EMS.


• Trauma Junkie: Memoirs of an Emergency Flight Nurse

Author: Janice Hudson Publication Date: 2010 

Trauma Junkie made the EMS book list because it’s an amazing first hand account of emergency medicine from the perspective of a flight nurse in San Francisco. I considered listing it in the paramedic books section because it’s excellent for anyone who aspires to be a flight paramedic.

However, Janice Hudson tells such a compelling story. I really think it will motivate any complacent EMT’s who are considering a future as a flight medic. In fact, some EMTs may see the benefits of considering a career in flight nursing once they are exposed to the real life experiences of Janice Hudson. 

The stories are a bit dated, most from the 90’s and earlier so try not to get caught up in the specific treatment decisions. I actually find it interesting to see the changes and advances we have made in prehospital emergency medicine. What makes this such a powerful EMT book is its honest insight into a unique profession and its natural ability to motivate.


• Rescuing Providence and Rescue 1 Responding

Author: Michael Morse  Publication Date: 2016 

Rescuing Providence is a great EMT book on its own, so having it combined with another strong EMS book, Rescue 1 Responding, is an added bonus. Michael Morse, a retired EMT/Firefighter who spent 23 years working in Providence, Rhode Island, writes about his own experiences responding to emergency calls.

In Rescuing Providence, Morse takes us along for one shift of responding to emergency calls in Providence, RI. What’s compelling about these EMS books is that Morse takes us to authentic emergency calls, not just the fun and exciting ones. He doesn’t elaborate on visceral experiences and gore like some of the other authors, instead Morse focuses on the day to day events and how they affect others.

Prospective firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics will all enjoy these EMS stories. This EMT book is published in 2016, but the books were originally published separately at earlier dates.


• Report from Ground Zero

Author: Dennis Smith Publication Date: 2003

Dennis Smith is a retired firefighter known for his most famous EMS book Report from Engine Co. 82 which sold over 2 million copies. Report From Ground Zero made the EMT book list because Dennis Smith has made a powerful written record of emergency response on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. It’s such a unique EMT book because it is written from the perspective of EMS workers.

In 2001 Dennis Smith was retired, but like many firefighters he still held service work in his heart. Seeing the devastation of 9/11, Dennis Smith reported to Ladder Co. 16 to volunteer in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero. The first half of Report From Ground Zero focuses on the actual day of the tragedy, using first hand accounts. It has detailed first person stories from the NYPD, NYFD, Port Authority and others who responded to emergencies that day. The second half of this EMS book is almost entirely about firefighters and their experiences at ground zero. It takes readers through the painstaking search for survivors and eventual sifting through rubble looking for bodies.

This is an enlightening EMT book for anyone who wants to know more about what firefighters and EMS at ground zero went through. If you know any EMS who volunteered at the World Trade Center, I recommend giving this EMT book a read to truly appreciate their role at ground zero.


• EMS: The Job of Your Life & EMS: The Job of Your Life

Author: Devin Kerins Publication Dates: 2002, 2004

The key to really enjoying these EMS books is to go in with a sense of humor. Devin Kerins is a career paramedic from New Jersey who turned his work experience into entertaining stories about the job. Instead of the raw, dark humor used in some of the other EMT and paramedic books, Kerins uses a light-hearted approach to tell his stories. EMS: The Job of Your Life and EMS 2 go against what’s expected in a conventional EMT book. You won’t find any heroes here. You will find fun, sarcasm, humor and patient misadventures. These are great EMS books to give as gifts or to put out for casual reading at the station.


• Report from Engine Co. 82

Author: Dennis Smith Publication Date: 1999

Report From Engine Co. 82 has become a well known EMS book among EMTs and firefighters. It takes place in the 1970’s where Firehouse 82 is home to one of the busiest fire companies in the world. Dennis Smith spent 18 years as a New York City firefighter and his experience comes through in his writing. This EMT book is a harrowing story of the difficulties, hardships, exploits and success’ that come from working at one of the busiest fire stations.


• Trauma Room Two

Author: Philip Allen Green, MD Publication Date: 2015

Trauma Room Two is unlike many of the other EMS books on this list because it takes place in the Emergency Department (ED). Phillip Allen Green is a board certified emergency medicine physician who has put together a collection of short stories from the ED.

I chose to include this EMT book because many EMTs and Paramedics work in the ED, and the short stories here give the feel of moving from call to call that EMS are familiar with. Trauma Room Two is an honest, authentic and well written book about providing patient care while delivering emergency medicine. If you still aren’t sure about whether this is a good book, check out the reviews on Amazon for an idea of what others think.  


• Fresh Out of EMT School

Author: Albert Reyes Publication Date: 2017 

Fresh out of EMT School made it on the list of EMS books because I think there is a real need for it. When I graduated nursing school I had a great book bout nurses working their first year. It really helped me because my first year of RN work was in the ICU/CCU and I needed the extra tips, tricks and motivation.

I’ve always wished EMTs had a book like that, and now they do. Albert Reyes has put together a good resource for new EMTs, a reminder for current EMTs, and a guide of what to expect for anyone considering becoming an EMT. Fresh Out of EMT School is fairly short at 112 pages, but that’s because it’s simple and to the point. This EMT book is filled with tips and tricks to help fresh EMTs come out of school a step ahead and with a little more confidence. It’s also a good gift for anyone considering becoming an EMT and for students currently training to be an EMT.

This EMT book may not be long and in-depth, but I applaud Albert Reyes for taking a look back to his beginnings and helping out EMT students starting their careers. Reyes is still an active EMT, currently responding to 911 calls in San Jose, California. He has over 16 experience as an EMT. 


• EMT: Beyond the Lights and Sirens

Author: Pat Ivey Publication Date: 2014 

Many of the EMT and paramedic books out there are from the busiest cities and toughest neighborhoods. However, this EMT book is a little different because it’s about rescue squad experience in rural Virginia in the 1980’s. Pat Ivey worked in the Emergency Department as an EMT and cardiac technician on the Volunteer Rescue Squad in Wilderness, Virginia.


A side note about volunteer EMS: There are some in the field who look down on volunteer EMTs and paramedics, considering them wannabes. Make sure to educate yourself before judging volunteers in rural areas because EMS and the 911 system couldn’t survive in many rural areas without volunteer EMS responding to calls. In understaffed rural areas, volunteers are the backbone of the EMS system and they deserve respect, or at the very least to not be called names. 

Here is an article if you want to learn a little bit about the current crisis rural areas are facing because of a lack of volunteer EMS.

EMT: Beyond the Lights and Sirens is the personal account of Ivey’s experience and the story of EMS from a rural perspective. In this EMS book, EMTs respond to emergency calls from home and often take care of their friends and neighbors. As an EMT from California, this was hard for me to imagine. However, Ivey paints a clear picture while exploring difficult issues like burnout and handling patient deaths. I recommend this EMT book for anyone who lives in or has an interest in rural emergency response. 


• Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic

Author: Sherry Lynn Jones  Publication Date: 2017 2nd Ed.

• More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic

Author: Sherry Jones Mayo Publication Date: 2012 Second book

The Confessions of a Trauma Junkie books include stories from the perspective of the author, her daughter and other EMS personnel. These EMS books tell the author’s life story while also telling powerful tales of patient care in multiple EMS settings.

Sherry has worked as a paramedic, an RN in the ED and as a critical crisis councilor during Hurricane Katrina. Some of the stories are focused on disaster response and come from the perspective of paramilitary personnel, which is a nice change from other EMS books.

More Confessions of a Trauma Junkie has a bit more humor than the first book and even has a funny section about quirky patients. EMS see a lot of strange things when showing up at people’s homes and Sherry shares them with us here. This EMT book also has a unique insight into the EMS response to Hurricane Katrina including a section with perspectives from emergency responders during and after the hurricane. Both of these EMT books are a solid read and you will frequently hear them recommended by EMS. Sherry uses her own experiences and the experiences of other EMS to take us out in the field, into the ED, and even back in time to Hurricane Katrina. 


• Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine

Author: Peter Canning Publication Date: 1998

Peter Canning is both a paramedic and a talented writer. Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine made the EMT books list instead of the Paramedic books list because it’s actually a great book to read before becoming a paramedic. It touches on the feelings of inadequacy along with the anxiety that comes with working as a new medic. Paramedic can help you realize how normal these experiences are for new EMTs and medics while giving you hope that things will improve. For this reason, EMT school, paramedic school or early on in your career is a great time to read Peter Canning’s book.


• Paramedic to the Prince

Author: Patrick Tom Notestine Publication Date: 2009

Paramedic to the Prince: An American Paramedic’s Account of Life Inside the Mysterious World of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a fantastic EMT book. Notestine isn’t the best writer, but he had a unique, interesting story to tell and I’m glad he made it into a book.

Following a job advertisement, Notestine was recruited from California to Saudi Arabia where he began working at the only level one trauma center in the Middle East. From there, he was eventually recruited to Crown Prince Abdullah Ibin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s personal medical team and entered the strange world of royalty. For ten years, Notestine worked in Saudi Arabia until 2004 when he finally returned to the United States. Paramedic to the Prince is such a unique contribution to EMS books because it gives a factual account of his experiences in places Americans are rarely given access to. This EMT book is written like a collection of personal anecdotes so it’s good when you want some light reading.

There are some complaints about the grammar and poor writing style, but the interesting story was good enough to overcome those shortcomings for me. After all, where else can you get a peek into Saudi Arabian EMS and the specific differences in medical culture at the highest levels, all from an American paramedics perspective? Notestine is currently a paramedic and firefighter with a specialty in Industrial Firefighting.


Fiction EMT Books

I’m an avid reader and being able to read fiction with EMS related settings and characters is awesome. When the authors of these books are talented and experienced EMS workers themselves, it adds another dimension to the stories. Sometimes you want to relax into a fantasy novel, without the real life drama and emotions that come from knowing the events you’re reading are true. For these reasons, I consider the fiction section to be important. These fictional EMS books are written by current or former EMS personnel and feature EMTs, paramedics or other EMS as the main characters. Don’t think this means you will find mediocre stories by amateur authors. There are stories about vampires, the paranormal, domestic abuse and even romance. There are quite a few talented writers in the EMS community and I hope to bring a few of them to your attention today.


• Racing the Reaper

Author: Jarrid Edgington  Publication Date: 2014

Book 2 – Resuscitation Publication Date: 2015

Racing the Reaper is a great EMT book when you are looking for entertainment instead of a textbook. Jarrid Edgington has been a paramedic for over 15 years and his EMS experience shows through in his writing. His EMS books feature an EMT as the main character. Racing the Reaper is book one of the four book Reaper Series and the second book Resuscitation is even better than the first. Whether you’re an EMT or Paramedic, it’s easy to relate to the authentic EMS experiences and treatments throughout the story. 


• A 1,000 Naked Strangers

Author: Kevin Hazzard  Publication Date: 2016

A 1,000 Naked Strangers is an action packed, honest and gritty look at the inner workings of paramedicine. However, it’s not just an EMS book of war stories. Hazzard uses visceral imagery to describe EMS scenes that take place in some of the worst neighborhoods in Atlanta. All while telling a compelling story many EMTs and paramedics will relate to.

Hazzard is a talented writer who also happened to spend time as a paramedic, so non-medical personnel will also find this book compelling. Kevin Hazzard doesn’t currently work in EMS, but he did work as a paramedic from 2004 to 2013. Most of his paramedic work was done at Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. This is an EMT book I highly recommend if you are looking for an in your face, high energy, dramatic story about a paramedic.


• Bringing Out The Dead

Author: Joe Connelly Publication Date: 1999

Bringing Out the Dead reads as an authentic EMS book because Joe Connelly worked as a Paramedic in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC for nine years. Bringing out the Dead features hollow eyed paramedic Frank Pierce as a main character who works the night shift in Hell’s Kitchen. Immediately readers get the impression Frank seems to be on the edge of a mental breakdown.

Connelly shows the toll EMS can take by showing Frank slowly deteriorating due to his continued work in EMS. This is a great EMT book to read especially if you’re a fan of darker genres like mystery, suspense and horror. Frank is haunted by past patients and guilt but his compulsion to do better and save lives makes it impossible to escape the cycle he’s in.

If you are sensitive to violence and graphic descriptions you may want to pass on this EMT book and read a different author. Overall I think Connelly’s book is even better than the movie Bringing Out the Dead because Connelly provides a fast-paced authentic look into how it feels to work in EMS. 


• Black Flies: A Novel

Author: Shannon Burke  Publication Date: 2008

Shannon Burke spent five years as a paramedic in NYC in the 1990s. Black Flies is dark, graphic and written to reflect his experiences. While working in Harlem, Burke experienced a hopelessness with the patient population and a meanness from his fellow medics who were often burned out.

Black Flies follows main character Ollie Cross during his first year as a paramedic in NYC. This is probably the darkest fictional EMT book on the list. If you are ok with that genre of storytelling and enjoy having EMS as the main characters of your story, this is a great EMS book. Black Flies is fast paced, gritty and raw but it’s base on Burke’s real life experiences so I can’t fault him for discussing the cruelty of his hardened EMS partners. For an in depth Black Flies review I recommend checking out the NY Times.


• Crossing the Line

Author: Caitlyn Armistead  Publication Date: 2016

Crossing the Line is a story about a paramedic teams growing respect for each other. Of course there is also romance, intrigue, domestic abuse, and many other conflicts and adventures along the way. Caitlyn Armistead is an AEMT who has worked for EMS services and several hospitals, and it’s obvious Armistead’s past experience influenced her characters and settings.

One character and paramedic partner is a Sergeant who lost his leg in Afghanistan and the other hides a secret that could destroy her. This is a good EMT book if you are looking for a fictional story written by an EMT that takes place in the EMS setting. I find it refreshing to enjoy an EMS book that isn’t a true story. 


• Extreme Medical Services: Medical Care On The Fringes Of Humanity

Author: Jaime Davis Book Publication Date: 2015 

Extreme Medical Services Books 1-7 

This is a seven book paranormal series with Paramedic Dean Flynn as the main character. These EMS books feature vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches and other supernatural creatures.

In the first book Emergency Medical Services, Dean Flynn is a new paramedic who quickly learns his 911 patients aren’t normal humans, but rather supernatural creatures. This EMT book ends in a cliffhanger so consider getting book 2 The Paramedics Angel, unless you want to wait to see what happens.

Book 2 continues to follow paramedic Dean Flynn as he adjusts to his new career helping the mythological creatures in his community. It also expands into the ER setting as Flynn learns more about his role among these unusual patients. It’s not easy to find paranormal EMT books and this is a whole series that features emergency medicine prominently in the storyline. The author Jaime Davis is a nurse and retired paramedic who also does the MedicCast Podcast. I highly recommend these EMS books to anyone who enjoys paranormal or fantasy fiction.


Paramedic Books

The EMT book list above is also good for paramedics to check out, but there are some books that I listed separate because they seemed especially relevant to EMS who are paramedics or interested in becoming a paramedic. The first list of seven paramedic books are training books used supplement your skills and abilities as a paramedic. The second set of paramedic books are five books to read for pleasure. These are books for casual reading.

Along with these two paramedic book lists, be sure to check out the EMT books and fiction books sections if you are interested in reading other EMS books.

Educational Paramedic Books 

Here are seven paramedic books to supplement education or help increase your skill level. For example there are paramedic books to help manage airways, perform intubations, manage ventilators, and learn more about critical care and flight paramedic transports. 


• The Walls Manual of Emergency Airway Management

Publication Date: 2017 – Fifth Edition

Ron M. Walls is know for his airway management courses and manuals. In fact, his book is often referred to as the Bible of emergency airway management. If your collection of paramedic books only has one book about airways, this should be it. The Walls Manual of Emergency Airway Management is the fifth edition from 2017. It’s an updated version and doesn’t disappoint. The 2017 version is well written, illustrated and just as authoritative as the previous versions. In fact, it translates throughout the field of medicine to all medical workers dealing with airway management; from paramedics to anesthesiologists.


• Pediatric Airway Management: A Step by Step Guide

Author: Christine E. Whitten M.D. Publication Date: 2018

It’s no secret that many paramedics aren’t comfortable intubating pediatrics and some aren’t performing the skill well. In fact, some states are taking the skill of pediatric intubation out of the paramedic’s scope of practice. Here is the recommendation to take pediatric intubation from California paramedics.

There are many reasons why paramedics have a more difficult time intubating children. Smaller anatomy, less patients to get experience on and different size tools are just a few. If paramedics who don’t frequently intubate children struggle when the time comes, what can you do? Prepare yourself! Christine Whitten, known as the airway jedi, is author of Anyone Can Intubate and has 40 years of experience. She is a pediatric anesthesiologist is San Diego, Ca and frequently volunteers for Operation Smile.

Pediatric Airway Management is Whitten’s newest book and it’s current, with step-by-step intubation techniques. It also comes with links to extremely helpful videos. Whitten not only tells you everything you need to know about pediatric intubation, she also shares hundreds of photos and figures. I recommend both of Whitten’s paramedic books on airway management, but if you want help with pediatric intubations this is a solid reference.


• Anyone Can Intubate: A Step-by-Step Guide to Intubation & Airway Management

Author: Christine E. Whitten M.D. Publication Date: 2013

Anyone Can Intubate has been used since 1987 to teach intubation and airway management. It’s been one of the more highly recommended paramedic books for many years. The fifth edition has been extensively rewritten with new information and figures. Anyone Can Intubate is easy to read and Whitten teaches the art of intubation along with the science. She is also good at explaining reasons for using specific techniques and gives advanced tips for difficult airways. Whitten has 40 years experience, is currently a pediatric anesthesiologist is San Diego, Ca. and volunteers for Operation Smile.


• Avoiding Common Prehospital Errors

Author: Benjamin J. Lawner, Corey M. Slovis, Raymond Fowler, Paul Pepe

Publication Date: 2013

Avoiding Common Prehospital Errors is a powerful learning tool for paramedics. Topics include airway, respiratory, cardiac, neurological, aeromedical, and more. Some examples of chapters are “Know when to say, “when!” Termination of resuscitation” and “Don’t assume the intoxicated patient is just drunk”. Each section has short articles about common EMS pitfalls, take home tips, and common sense information.

Each article is contributed by well-known EMS clinicians, nurses or physicians. They are well thought out with supporting references on topics relevant to prehospital patient care. This is a great paramedic book for students, newer paramedics, and even experienced paramedics. Avoiding Common Prehospital Errors is one of those paramedic books that can effect how you practice as a paramedic in the field for years to come. The only complaint I have is that this paramedic book is from 2013 and I wish they would update it to add even more topics from the last couple years.


• Critical Care Transport – 2nd Edition

Author: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) 

Publication Date: 2017

The second edition of Critical Care Transport became available in the Spring of 2017. This made the paramedic books list because it’s an excellent resource for anyone hoping to advance to a critical care paramedic position. This paramedic book covers both ground and flight transport and meets the objectives of the Certified Flight Paramedic (FP-C) Exam.

Critical Care Transport also meets the criteria of major critical care training programs and is endorsed by both the International Association of Flight and Critical Care Providers (IAFCCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). As you can see this is the gold standard for Critical Care transports. Prehospital care topics covered include flight physiology, into-aortic balloon pumps, trauma and pharmacology. There are also a few new topics added to the second edition like patient safety, sample fetal monitoring strips, enhanced capnography, troubleshooting transport ventilators and updates to transport choreography. This is one of the paramedic books I recommend to anyone considering becoming a Critical Care Nurse or Critical Care Paramedic in the future.


• Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses 16th Edition

Publication Date: 2018

There are quite a few prehospital drug guides out there, but in my opinion paramedics don’t need to limit their drug knowledge because they work in EMS. Also many paramedic schools recommend nursing drug guides for medic students.

The paramedic scope of practice and number of medications is slowly expanding over time so having a good drug guide is important. Davis’s Drug Guide made the paramedic books list because it has a 5,000 drugs database, uses capitalized red letters for life-threatening side effects, has red tabs for high alert medications, has intravenous administration subheads, and much more. 


• Ventilator Management: A Pre-Hospital Perspective

Author: Eric Bauer Publication Date: 2016

You don’t have to own any paramedic books about ventilators, but I threw one on the list because getting comfortable with ventilator patients can give you a lot of confidence. A second edition of Ventilator Management: A Pre-Hospital Perspective was released in 2016 and it’s a good resource for prehospital EMS. It manages to cover ventilator patient settings and other difficult topics while remaining an easy to read book. This is also a great paramedic book for anyone who plans on becoming a critical care or flight paramedic.


Paramedic Books for Casual Reading

All five of these paramedic books are written by current or past EMS providers and all of them are autobiographical or non-fiction EMS books. These are individual stories of working as a paramedic in different cities, states, and even countries. These paramedics have created powerful and entertaining stories.


• Talking Trauma: Storytelling Among Paramedics

Author: Timothy Tangherlini Publication Date: 1998

Talking Trauma: Storytelling Among Paramedics is unlike other paramedic books out there. Timothy R. Tangherlini is a folklorist at UCLA who uses his passion for storytelling to illuminate a secret corner of paramedic life. Tangherlini has analyzed hundreds of hours of paramedics telling stories and he reveals many of the stories along with the significance of storytelling in EMS. He spent about a year riding with paramedics and collecting stories during their downtime. Talking Trauma presents a set of stories for each chapter that all fall under the same theme.

After the stories, Tangherlini gives some insight and analysis about the storytelling theme. For example, the theme of chapter five is mental illness and suicide which are still very relevant topics today.

You won’t find other paramedic books about medics, their stories, why they tell them and what their stories mean. I highly recommend checking this one out because it’s so unique. Plus you can hand it to friends and family when they ask about what you do at work.



• Lights and Sirens: The Education Of A Paramedic

Author: Kevin Grange Publication Date: 2015  

Lights and Sirens: The Educations of a Paramedic is one of the best paramedic books to read before or while going through a paramedic program. Kevin Grange tells his experiences going through UCLA’s Daniel Freeman Paramedic Program at age 36. Anyone familiar with Daniel Freeman knows it’s considered an elite and rigorous program. At the time of Grange’s training it included four months in the classroom, two months of ER rotations and a three month field internship with the Los Angeles Fire Department. Lights and Sirens takes you through nine months of grueling and intense schooling. Grange describes paramedic school as the hardest thing he’s ever done which makes this one of the most relatable paramedic books for students. 


• Paramédico

Author: Benjamin Gilmour  Publication Date: 2013

Paramedico is one of those paramedic books that can’t be written by just anyone. Benjamin Gilmour is an Australian paramedic who took on the unusual 15 year adventure of volunteering and working on ambulances around the world. He writes about his experiences working as a paramedic in 13 different nations. This makes Paramedico a unique EMS book that can’t be replicated.

It’s amazing to learn how EMS systems work in other places like Macedonia, London and South Africa. What makes Paramedico one of the best Paramedic books is that Gilmour has the heart of a paramedic and he focuses on the achievements and realities of the EMS workers, inside their prehospital care systems. This is much more entertaining than if he had compared each location to the United State’s or Australia’s prehospital care system. Gilmour is able to see each location with an open mind and celebrate their challenges and abilities at the level of care they are able to provide.

Many authors would have focused on countries with substandard care and the desperation in certain areas of the world. Paramedico gives us an honest look at EMS, while maintaining humor, fun and a sense of adventure. I recommend this EMS book for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and get a realistic vision of what EMS looks like in the world. It’s also a good paramedic book to get perspective that your gear doesn’t determine the quality of care you provide.


• Hard Roll: A Paramedic’s Perspective of Life and Death in New Orleans

Author: Jon McCarthy Publication Date: 2017

Hard Roll: A Paramedic’s Perspective of Life and Death in New Orleans is an autobiography but it manages to tell a story filled with humor, heroism and adventure. This is one of the more exciting paramedic books to read because of McCarthy’s great sense of humor. Jon McCarthy worked as a paramedic in New Orleans for about 20 years and uses his experiences to give readers realistic imagery and descriptions.

Hard Roll takes readers through a variety of emotions and calls ranging from the mundane to completely bizarre. What do you expect from New Orleans? I recommend this as a paramedic book for anyone who is looking for a humorous but realistic story about a paramedic’s experiences on the job.  


• Hands of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, Heart of a Saint: True Stories from a 10 year Paramedic

Author: David C. Stone Publication Date: 2014

Hands of an Angel, Mind of a Demon, Heart of a Saint isn’t one of the most popular paramedic books, but it made my list. 

Stone writes about how working in EMS changes us, from the inside out. He talks about experiences paramedics see daily that would be traumatic for non-medical people to see just once. Throughout his stories you can feel a deep respect towards the profession and his patients. This is one of my favorite paramedic books because I found it easy to read and hard to put down.

Stone was relatable as both a character and a member of the EMS community. I found his lack of machismo and hero worship refreshing. However, if you are looking for an EMS book filled will war stories, this isn’t the one for you. Hands of an Angel is on the list of paramedic books instead of EMT books, because I think EMS with some field experience will appreciate Stone’s retelling of events that haunt him. Make sure to read the whole book and stick around for the powerful ending.


EMT Training Books

Here are a few EMT training books to help anyone looking for resources with good information. These EMT books are considered the gold standard for their topics. If you are looking for a more advanced EMT book, check out the educational paramedic books section.

• Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured

Author: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Publication Date: 2016 – 11th Edition

Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured has been around since 1971 and is the most comprehensive EMT textbook out there. As of June 2018, the eleventh edition is the most updated version of this popular EMT training book and is the required reading of many EMT classes. If you’re looking for an in depth EMT textbook or want good material for studying, this is the gold standard for EMT training. There is also a workbook with exercises to assist with learning. 


• Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured Student Workbook 

Author: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Publication Date: 2016

Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured Student Workbook is organized by chapter to help reinforce what is learned in the EMT textbook by the same name. (see above) This EMT training workbook contains exercises, answer keys, and patient care reports. The exercises cover the new National EMS Education Standards, comprehension, general knowledge, assessment and treatment skills. If you are looking for a study aid to help reinforce the EMT textbook, the Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured Student Workbook can be of great help.


• Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s – Sixth Edition

Author: Dale Dubin Publication Date: 2000

If you ask any online EMS group what the best EKG training book is, Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s is always going to be tossed out as an option. Dubin’s EKG book is considered the gold standard for EMTs and paramedics, which is great because it’s much more affordable than many of it’s competitors.

You might be wondering why this EKG book is not in the paramedic books section. There are a couple reasons I intentionally didn’t list it in with paramedic books, even though reading EKGs is usually outside of an EMTs scope of practice. Many EMTs work side by side with paramedics in an ALS unit and some BLS EMTs are able to transport patients with an EKG monitor on. Emergency medical technicians are also exposed to EKGs during critical care transports and during patient drop offs in the ED and ICU.

For these reasons, some EMTs become interested in increasing their knowledge base and learning more about EKGs on their own. Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s is an excellent EMT book to use as a learning resource. It makes learning simple, easy to understand and reading it isn’t like reading a textbook. There are tons of pictures and you can read Rapid Interpretation of Ekg’s over the weekend. It also gives easy to understand explanations of cardiac issues. If you still aren’t sure whether this is a good EKG book, check out the almost thousand reviews on Amazon!


• Kaplan Anatomy Coloring Book – Sixth Edition

Author: Stephanie McCann and Eric Wise Publication Date: 2017

If you need practice with anatomy and physiology, and let’s be honest who doesn’t, Kaplan’s Anatomy Coloring Book is great because it’s actually more like a coloring workbook. Along with detailed coloring of the body systems there are also flash cards, blank labels on illustrations for self-quizzing, and answer keys. Kaplan has taken the anatomy and physiology coloring book and taken it to the next level. I recommend this EMT book as an easier way to study anatomy and physiology. If you are planning to buy an anatomy coloring book I highly encourage you to consider this one because it’s so interactive. 


An Extra Book for Everyone

• People Care: Perspectives & Practices for Professional Caregivers

Author: Thom Dick Publication Date: 2018 – 3rd Ed.

It’s never too late to learn the art of working in EMS. Workers ranging from EMTs to doctors are getting caught on camera verbally and physically abusing patients in everyday situations. Which is why this EMS book is more important now than it has ever been. Somehow concepts like compassion, kindness and tolerance still haven’t become part of the lesson plan for healthcare providers.

It’s expected that we instinctively know and understand how to handle difficult people in difficult situations. However, it’s clear from watching videos pop up in the news that many medical workers need more help in this area. People Care by Thom Dick can provide that help. This isn’t just a book for EMTs and Paramedics.

Anyone working in healthcare, especially emergency medicine can benefit from reading this. In fact, many EMS who read People Care say it should be required reading during EMT training. I wholeheartedly agree. This is one of the best EMT books for teaching how to use empathy and compassion in a way that changes your mindset while on the job, and in the world.

If you are concerned about burnout or losing sight of why you joined EMS, don’t stay stagnant. Get your hands on a copy of this book. Reading People Care is a step you can take toward becoming the kind of EMT or Paramedic that you want be.


Want more EMT topics? Check out: 

10 Best EMS Pants

→ Hand Hygiene for EMS

→ The Pediatric Assessment Triangle

EMS Boot Buying Guide



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