Emergency Gear

It’s not all about the gear for EMTs and Paramedics. Sure, these emergency responders have an ambulance filled with cool equipment that helps save lives, but knowing how to use it, when to use it and when not to use it are just as important. As the technology changes, these Allied Health professionals need to stay up-to-date with new developments. Good judgment is the single most important piece of gear they have.

The blood pressure cuff and sphygmomanometer help EMTs diagnose potential heart attacks and other cardiac problems. Blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate and pulse rate are the four main vital signs routinely monitored.

Cervical collars come in different forms but EMTs typically use hard plastic immobilization collars to secure the spines and skulls of trauma patients to prevent additional injuries to the neck and skull during transport. A large opening in the front allows access for monitoring the carotid artery or using respirators.

A glucometer determines the approximate concentration of glucose in the blood. Many patients with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycemia have home monitoring equipment but many, many people with these chronic conditions are not diagnosed and have medical emergencies.

The backboard is a vital part of an EMT’s arsenal because it helps stabilize patients with back pain and potential spinal cord injuries.

A portable vital signs monitor allows emergency responders to not only keep tabs on patients during transport but also transmit information to nurses and physicians waiting at the hospital’s emergency room.

A nebulizer delivers medications deep into the respiratory tract and helps patients with serious respiratory problems including asthma, emphysema and cystic fibrosis.

A non-rebreather mask, or NRB, allows delivery of oxygen in medical emergencies.

The stethoscope has been around since the early 1800s but remains an important piece of diagnostic equipment that allows health care workers to monitor heart and lung function.

A pulse oximeter indirectly monitors blood oxygen saturation by measure changes in blood volume on a patient’s skin. Depending on the model, an oximeter can be placed on a patient’s fingertip or an ear. When levels drop below normal ranges, EMTs administer additional oxygen.