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10 Critical Emergency Medical Products for First Responders


In any given medical emergency, first responders and EMTs are typically the first medical professionals to arrive. They must be properly equipped to offer basic, often lifesaving, medical care at the scene of various types of accidents and emergencies. Emergency vehicles and kits must be stocked so first responders can handle every type of emergency.

10 Critical Emergency Medical Products for First Responders

  • Medical/Trauma Shears
  • Emergency Oxygen Kit
  • Portable Ventilator
  • Disposable Blankets
  • Trauma Supplies
  • Patient Assessment Tools
  • ECG Monitor/Defibrillator
  • Wound Care Equipment
  • Collapsible Stretcher
  • Personal Protective Equipment

Most emergency responders will not only need medical products for routine care, but they will also likely face trauma management on a regular basis. The best emergency vehicles and kits should include a little bit of everything – basic care supplies, monitoring and reporting equipment, trauma supplies and basics like tape, medical scissors, and bandages.

You'll need to work with your team and use your best judgment because you can't include everything in your emergency vehicle, and kits get extremely heavy and cumbersome quickly. Make sure you routinely assess what your team thinks it really needs.

10 Critical Emergency Medical Products for First Responders

There are some important emergency medical products you'll need to make sure are always available for your emergency medical teams. Each of these emergency products helps first responders deliver exceptional medical emergency care at the height of a critical situation.

1. Medical/Trauma Shears

When time is short and the stakes are high in an emergency response situation, EMTs may have to cut through a patient's clothing in order to deliver lifesaving medical services. Your team needs medical shears that are durable enough to take heavy use every single day. You also want to look for serrated, non-slip cutting edges and enlarged handles so that they are easy for your team to grip and use. You can find these in all kinds of price ranges, from the very simple up to more complicated shears that provide additional functionality like ring-cutting and glass-breaking, or some that include additional tools like wrenches. These types of heavy-duty shears can typically cut through several layers of clothing at once if necessary.

2. Emergency Oxygen Kit

For a patient who isn't breathing appropriately on his/her own, emergency oxygen usually is delivered by rescue breaths through an emergency oxygen kit. It includes a bag valve mask in order to prevent hypoxia – a condition that results from insufficient oxygen circulating throughout the body. You'll need several sizes to account for adults, children, and babies your team may need to treat. This device is then connected to an oxygen cylinder – once the mask is in place over the patient's face, the EMT squeezes the device to allow oxygen to flow into the patient's lungs. You'll also need a regulator with pressure gauge and a functioning flow meter.

3. Portable Ventilator

A portable ventilator is used to mechanically move air into the lungs of a patient who can't breathe adequately on his/her own. It's essentially a portable life support system. Your team must know how to appropriately adjust settings that control the rate and depth of the ventilations given by the ventilator. Make sure your team receives appropriate training and is comfortable with all aspects of running the machine. You can find portable ventilators in a wide range of complexity – some offer on-screen prompts that help walk your team through the appropriate steps and measurements to help protect patient health and safety. A portable ventilator is also connected to an oxygen cylinder.

4. Disposable Blankets

A disposable blanket is arguably one of the most important rescue essentials for your EMTs. No matter the level of injury, a simple blanket offers many benefits to accident victims. Blankets help prevent shock and too-rapid cooling of the body, along with reducing the risk of wound complications and, in cold conditions, the risk of hypothermia. For those with minor injuries, it provides warmth and comfort after a traumatic event. Having a healthy stock of disposable blankets lets your team also provide patients protection against the elements, and when necessary, a privacy screen for various emergency care or procedures. And if your team needs to transport patients, having blankets on-hand can help your team provide extra comfort and padding if needed.

Disposable blankets come in a variety of types: You can find Mylar blankets that are especially good for providing warmth and protection from the elements. Tissue blankets, on the other hand, are best for providing privacy when needed. Fleece blankets offer the most warmth and just a little extra feeling of comfort.

5. Trauma Supplies

Trauma supplies can include everything from emergency bandages and chest wound injury seals – basically, this includes any kind of medical equipment or supply that is designed to slow or stop serious bleeding or seal off an area of penetrating trauma. Emergency bandages are specifically designed to staunch blood flow in catastrophic trauma injuries. They serve as everything from wound dressing to pressure applicator and closure apparatus. You want your team to have bandages at their disposal when every second counts. Chest seals, on the other hand, only have one use – to close sucking chest wounds and prevent air from being pulled into the chest through an open injury. Some chest seals also include vents that allow any air trapped inside the chest to escape.

6. Patient Assessment Tools
Your team will need to be able to quickly and accurately assess patients' conditions once they reach the scene of an emergency so that they can deliver the right emergency medical services. In fact, some may argue that prompt assessment of a patient's condition is the most important criteria for being able to accurately perform the right kind of treatment. Supplies like blood pressure cuffs, a stethoscope, thermometers, carbon dioxide monitors and pen lights can arm your team with the right kind of diagnostic medical equipment and supplies to assess vital signs and make good decisions about how to move forward with field treatment.

7. ECG Monitor/Defibrillator

With this piece of emergency medical equipment, you have plenty of choices, so you'll need to confer with your team on preferences and technology comfort levels. The most basic ECG and vital signs monitor models are fully automated – your team can simply attach the monitor to the patient and follow the voice prompt from the monitor. More advanced versions, however, feature additional patient-monitoring and reporting features built in so that your team can monitor the patient's ECG. The accompanying defibrillator can be used to shock cardiac arrhythmias.

8. Wound Care Equipment

Your EMT team will need to be prepared to address a wide variety of wounds, so it's a good idea to make sure they're stocked with plenty of basic wraps and bandages in a wide variety of sizes, plus gauze and heavy-duty tape. You may also include hemostatic dressings like Dermabond to make sure your EMTs can quickly and safely close and bandage wounds. With this category of emergency supplies, you may also want to include wound irrigation supplies and antibiotic ointment so that wounds can effectively be cleaned and protected from infection.

Routine wound care is a given for your EMT team and should include small tools like tweezers, tiny scissors, and forceps as part of your wound care approach. In fact, when it comes to cleaning wounds, your team may have to deal with metal or glass shards that have made their way into a wound during an accident. Sometimes they can be removed by flushing with water, but most of the time, your team will need equipment like small tweezers and forceps (ideally with needlepoint sharpness) to remove these foreign items from wounds and help prevent infection.

9. Collapsible Stretcher

In case it becomes necessary to transport the patient(s), your team should be equipped with a portable stretcher. Stretchers are usually available in either a collapsible or a roll-up format, so work with your team to determine their preferences and make sure they're part of the kit. Some teams prefer to use trauma/spinal boards, which can provide appropriately rigid support for patients who may have sustained spinal injuries or trauma.

10. Personal Protective Equipment
In addition to stabilizing and treating the patient(s), your first responders also need to have equipment that protects themselves. Make sure your emergency vehicles are stocked with personal protective equipment like gloves, eye protection, and masks – this will make sure your team is protected from danger and infection, no matter the nature of the emergency or the condition of the patient. And you want to make sure they have several of everything – because of the disposable nature of supplies like gloves and masks. Your team may need to go through several supplies when responding to even one emergency.

You may also want to think about items like reflective coats or vests for roadside conditions at night, and everyone on your EMT team needs to have water-resistant boots that will allow them to enter all kinds of emergency sites.

Emergency Medical Products for First Responders
On any given day, your emergency medical team can face anything from minor scrapes and cuts to broken bones, burns, and serious head trauma, just to name a few. It's essential to make sure your emergency medical personnel are effectively prepared to offer aid in many different kinds of emergencies. With meticulous emergency preparedness, you can help greatly reduce trauma and stress during an emergency situation and contribute to your team's life-saving efforts. The list of emergency medical products presented here is certainly not exhaustive, but it can give you a good, basic start for making sure your team is ready for a quick and effective response.

The best-prepared emergency medical teams will have everything from basic supplies like stretchers and bandages to more complex EMT supplies like portable ventilators or diagnostic equipment. When it comes to emergency equipment, you always need to have extra on-hand. Remember: Two equals one and one equals none in an emergency situation.

If you'd like additional support in determining which emergency medical supplies would best meet the needs of your team, our highly experienced staff would be happy to help – simply Contact Us or call 1-866-561-2380 to get started.