Calling All EMTs, Paramedics, et al

I made a joke on my AGirl facebook about using my new Israeli Bandage which got me to thinking. I have a first aid bag full of the usual goodies…band-aids, various ointment, antiseptic, and, of course my newly acquired Israeli Bandage(it was a gift), but as an EMT, do you carry more?

I understand that when one is on call the ambulance is stocked, but do you all carry supplies for off duty emergencies and if so what?

I can’t see that in my everyday life much of those items will actually be needed, but this is all new to me.

I am not ready to place an OPA down anyone’s throat(although I rock it on a mannequin) but just curious if, as seasoned folks, you eventually purchased such items to carry with you?

My husband is a little nervous as to the answer because he is afraid I will have him splinted, hooked up to O2, suctioning him and possibly applying a combat dressing to his head, but don’t worry about that, I am probably going to do those regardless of what you say.

32 thoughts on “Calling All EMTs, Paramedics, et al

  1. Not a paramedic, but I’ll chime in. The last time I caught up my various blowout kits, I ordered a lot of stuff on-line; be very careful, as just about all the various things out there are for sale. I could have had a gross of iv setups shipped to my door for a song, but that dorsnt mean I could save a life. I went with the ibd and a couple packs of celox, along with various standard supplies. I figure my.kits are to extend life until the bus arrives- with your training, Id say you should carry the things you are most comfortable with.

    • Right now I a, not comfortable at all…lol Love the class, but I keep thinking, wow, they are trusting us with a lot:) thanks!

  2. When I was a brand-new EMT, I had all of the goodies. However, you have to take into account the liability of using the goodies. I had a friend who kept IV equipment in his kit, but without a medical director – and as a Good Samaritan you won’t have a medical director – he could have faced some serious legal issues if he’d ever used it. Good rule of thumb – if it’s invasive, don’t even *think* about carrying it, because you’ll be tempted to use it and you might not be covered liability-wise.

    My kit has pared down a lot over the last twenty years, simply because I realized I didn’t need all of the fancy stuff. With age and experience comes confidence that you can make pretty much anything work in a pinch for pretty much any situation. My kit now is pretty pathetic – it’s got more “every day” injury stuff in it than trauma stuff…guess what it gets used for?

    I have a BP cuff/stetho, gloves, SAM splint, ACE wraps, tampons, maxi pads, bandaids, paper tape, and Vet Wrap. Oh, and a Pocket Mask. That pretty much covers me for any/every situation I’m going to run across. If I need more than that, the patient needs more than just me. In my shooting bag, I have some expired QuikClot and gloves.

  3. 34 years as an EMT, 7 as a medic for Wishard Ambulance in Indianapolis. I carry all of the above, and vaseline gauze. I know I’ll be incinerated for this, but I carry none of the celox stuff, I do have a tourniquet, when i started, a tourniquet was thought of as a policeman’s sidearm, only used when needed, and when needed was used all the way. IF, again IF, I was in a situation like some of our military guys are in, hours and hours away from a facility, I MIGHT consider the celox material. The medics I worked with before I got laid off in April of this year were anything but sold on the celox, and a tourniquet, only if really ,really, really, really needed. I like and carry the smaller rolls of kling, 2 X2’s, 4 X 4’s, a few 5 X 9’s, some cardboard arm splints, and cravats, I have 15 in each kit, the garage box, my RSO bag, and a TCCC kit I keep in the truck, my shooting vest I have vaseline, and kling, really basic stuff. I hope that helps, thanks for asking

  4. Not active anymore, as you know, but I generally keep nitrile gloves (at least 3 pair), quik-clot, skin glue, suture kit, monofilament line, knife, several blades, plastic tubing, BIC pen, tape, plastic sheet (grocery sack will do fine; ziplock bag even better), benzocaine, sterile saline, packaged water, some adhesive bandages, and sanitary napkins in all my kits (most of which are fanny packs). And a charged cell phone.

    In the car kit, there is also vinegar and meat tenderizer along with pressure bandages and other goodies. Hunting kit has some special tools.

    Be certain of liability, local good samaritan and other laws.

  5. Ive been an EMT for almost 4 years now and I have a shoe box of bandaids and tape and gauze in my trunk, but mostly I would worry about having GLOVES!!
    This is of course something that lives back there and i forget I have for the most part, my camping kit has more to it but for something that comes with me every day its fine. There is very little that you can do for someone who will probably end up calling an ambulance anyways, but please, if youve made the decision to touch someone, do yourself, and them, a favor and glove up!!

  6. As I recall, anything beyond advanced first aid is a liability, you and your family’s liability. Remember that anything you do includes your family. Some people laugh at me, but I think you know what I mean. Have you affiliated with an association yet? Your instructor should cover your legal abilities AND liabilities in the class.
    As for what to carry. Because I like outside activities and I’ve been around a lot of kids, I have always had a quite complete first aide kit. The most important things that I have added are BSI, BSI, BSI, and a pocket mask (BSI again). I have added a the oxygen/pulse finger sensor.
    My basic kit: Small and very large Band-aids, ace bandages (2″ & 4″), lots of & several kinds of tape, butterfly bandages, needle and tweezers (for extracting splinters & such), gauze bandages 4×4’s and 2×2’s, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, benadryl (for allergic reactions), a couple of OTC pain killers, antibiotic ointment, mole skin, popcicle sticks (finger splints), and a few other things that are used often around the house in everyday living.
    The paramedic’s statements are exactly what I learned in my class.

    • Yes, we have covered legal and I am aware of what I can and can not do legally. I am not gonna start an IV on someone etc(not that I know how anyway). I just meant anything beyond the basic band aid and neosporine.

      Thank you for your input. Very helpful!

  7. Never an EMT, never wanted to be – but ten years of volunteer service means I’ve run a couple thousand EMS calls as driver/bag-humper. I keep a small orange bag in my truck (LA Rescue, in fact, this one: with basic first aid stuff. Trauma dressings, gauze pads and rolls, ace, triangles, hot and cold packs, CPR mask, trauma shears, flashlight, gloves. It has a BP cuff and stethoscope but they’re the cheap-ass ones that came with it and have never been used to my knowledge.

  8. A few years ago we found a small surgical kit at an army surplus store so we are prepared for surgery when we are out in the middle of nowhere if we need to. It was originally in the rock crawler’s first aid kit for when we were way out on a trail and would take 2 hours to get into the nearest town. We bought it for the suturing tools in it.

    • I am planning on purchasing a few items for our personal family kit, but not things I would use on someone say on the side of the road or at a kids sports event. Not sure I can perform surgery though:) you must be very skilled!

  9. I was an EMT/Firefighter for a few years prior to joining the Army. I used to carry a huge kit in my trunk with just about anything you can think of in it. Then I realized something. The funny thing about First and Second Aid is that almost anything needed to treat an injury between when you discover it and EMS arrives can be improvised. The more serious injuries for which stuff can’t be improvised can’t reasonably be addressed in the time frame we’re talking about. Likewise, in a “preparedness scenario”, an injury or illness that requires advanced equipment to treat probably isn’t one that you’re going to be able to address given the situation and your resources.
    Think about that BP cuff. If you’re driving along and happen upon an accident, how will your treatment of the patient change based on their BP? Likely it won’t. The vitals are important to track for the hospital and their advanced treatment and are something you can address on duty in your rig, but even as an EMT or EMT-P acting as a private person there isn’t much you’re going to do differently based on BP between the time you discover the accident and EMS arrives… so why bother? Heart is beating, or not. They are breathing, or not. They are conscious and responsive, or not. They are bleeding, or not. They have a potential C-spine injury, or not. Etc, etc.
    Now in the car I have a CPR mask, a seatbelt cutter, some Army dressings, some bandaging material, a red felt tip pen and some duct tape… and two fire extinguishers. In my active shooter kit I have Celot bandages and an Israeli dressing. Anything else I need I can improvise or is for something I won’t be addressing at my level and in my time frame anyway.

      • Couldn’t you use a BP kit/cuff as a makeshift pressure point applier to stop blood flow on an arm or leg (assuming cuff is big enough)? Just twist the air release to air can’t escape and you have a pressure applier w/o having to have your hands tied up. That would free you to address other issues and/or people if the situation warranted it.

  10. A couple of decent TQs (SOF-W etc), a bunch of Olaes, some Halo seals, and some combat gauze. Plus a few chest darts.

    But take a TCCC class once you get your license. It’s worth it. There are also some useful courses run by some of the normal gun training companies.

  11. I carry the same kit in my truck that OldNFO listed, with cervical collars and extra blankets.

      • I considered it for a while, but the truth is, you need at least two people to put on a collar correctly, and even if that’s done, then what?

        Tanksoldier is spot-on. Airway, breathing, circulation. Past that, there’s not a whole lot you can do solo.

  12. For non-duty stuff, tanksoldier has the right idea, I think. As a good samaritan you are just bridging the gap between the injuring event and the arrival of the ambulance. To me that means dealing with any immediate life threat, otherwise just keeping the person still and calm. So I only carry a few things that would help me deal with a person who does not have a pulse and/or not breathing, and/or is seriously bleeding. It all needs to fit in my pocket, because to me a first aid kit in the trunk is like a having a gun in the trunk — not really useful if I need it RIGHT NOW (e.g. I’m the one who is shot).

    BSI — couple or three pair of gloves, and I generally have impact resistant (ANSI Z.71+) sunglasses during the day. I have clear glasses on the truck dash for night.

    Microshield — the flat one in the little orange case.

    Israeli Battle Dressing


    Tourniquet in some form. I already carried a bandana in my back pocket and a carabiner with keyring on my beltloop for my keys, that can make an improvised TQ, but I have since added the CAT — it is much easier to use one-handed (I practice using both one-handed). Just got the Cav Arms Slick T, which is smaller than the CAT, going to practice with it and see how it goes overall.

    The bandana can of course double as either a dressing or a bandage as well.

    Chest seals: the IBD wrapper and the tape can be used for improvised chest seals, but the HALO is faster.

    Roll(s) of gauze – as much as will fit in the sandwich bag with the other stuff.

    This all fits in a ziploc sandwich bag in the cargo pocket of my pants. I figure if I need more dressings and bandages for something really gory, I will improvise out of clothing. I already carry a knife or two, so I don’t carry shears.

    Practice using it all on myself, one-handed. (Well, except for the microshield). This makes you appreciate the ready-made stuff like the CAT and the HALO seals.

    I recently did a firstaid class with this stuff for the training group I work out with, they seemed to appreciate it.

    One major thing I emphasized to them that is part of the “knowledge kit” – scene safety. Of course it applies when you are working as an EMT, but it is just as important, probably more important, if you are playing good Samaritan all by yourself, without a partner, without police on scene, etc. You probably read about that car accident in California where two women died and six others were badly hurt via electrocution when they tried to assist a driver who had knocked overa utility pole and a fire hydrant. Your first aid kit is not much good if you get clobbered in the process.

    Congrats on doing the EMT training! If you know the principles of treating wounds and CPR, you can pretty much improvise the materials.

    • Hey Eric!! Good to hear from you!!

      Thanks for the info. I love to hear that you practice it. I want to be sure I know how to use this stuff should I ever need, somI practice. Not as often as I should probably because there are only so many hours in the day.

      Sometimes I think I might take things to serious when I practice guns, and knives, and first aid. But I enjoy it and I am late to the game. Although I have always had a first aid kit.

  13. Not a paramedic or EMT, but I carry the same thing in my car that I have on my range bags, minus only the large bore needle for pneumo decomp (just because YOU aren’t certified to use something doesn’t mean there isn’t someone around during the incident who is formally qualified, but sans kit). It’s basically modelled on the stuff in a standard IFAK – CAT TK, 1x Isaeli pressure dressing, 2x old style USGI pressure dressings, NPT for airways, blood clotters, plastic (including the wrappers of the supplies), penlight (and I keep a “squeeze” light in th e glove box), safety pins (mostly to pin wrappers to the chest for anything that goes IN a wound, so there’s no confusion about how many things the need to find, nor exactly what they are for proper removal), gloves, dressing scissors, small knife, “casualty card”, and a fine-tip Sharpie. “Boo-boo” kits are seperate — this is just a blowout kit to keep the red stuff in and the invisible stuff moving in and out, for up to an hour..

    My theory on the range bag is ABC to keep a trauma case alive long enough for the woo-woo box to arrive and the nice people in blue shirts to take over. Same thing on the car kit, although the response time is likely shorter for a roadside incident than some of the places I shoot.

  14. 20 years in EMS mostly as a medic and I know I have some gloves in my car, somewhere..May have some items in the trunk and have a CAT Tourniquet in my computer bag, which is always with me it seems.
    Thats about it unless I am going to the range or hunting/camping/fishing…then I have a wee bit more…
    Not sure what it is, but in my many years of travel, I just don’t seem to run across any accidents and I drive 100 miles daily to and from work!!
    Amazes me how people always seem to come upon disasters all the time.
    The best thing one can do is take CPR/BLS and then an EMR class (what was 1st Responder, now Emergency Medical Responder) our classes are currently 48 hours in length but with the new standards we may lengthen them. That gives one all the basic know how one needs with the gear they are most apt to have should something arise at home or in the big scary world.
    Outside of work I have used my know how on myself
    (twice, once while slicing upper thigh on boat trailer loading boat after day on lake(greasy rag and 2 bungee cords to hold it together for 20 mile drive) and needed 20 plus staples and stitches to seal it up and then severed artery in lower leg in Boundary Waters, now THAT was exciting!!(CAT handy)), Son broken arm, Wife collapsed on me one morning, Dad when he became suddenly ill in the middle of Gull Lake while fishing one morning. All survived, neighbors ringing my doorbell at all hours for some emergency with a family member)
    all of this successfully dealt with probably do more to my not panicking and remembering my training, You tend to get a little more excited when it is one of yours or you!
    Thats the biggest thing. Keep your head on straight whilst all others are panicking because sky is falling.

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