Even if your fire department does not provide ambulance services, there is always an increasing demand for firefighters to provide basic medical treatment for their citizens. The following article details the 5 “must-have” types of medical equipment that should be in every fire truck’s medical jump bag.
Must-Have #1: The Blood Pressure Cuff
Obtaining a blood pressure is imperative for every patient that firefighters encounter. In order to obtain a reliable blood pressure, the firefighter must use an appropriately sized blood pressure cuff. To build confidence in obtaining accurate blood pressures, firefighters should practice on each other.
Must-Have #2: The Stethoscope
When obtaining a blood pressure, firefighters must place the bell of the stethoscope in the bend of the patient’s elbow where they can feel a pulse. The stethoscope can also be used to auscultate (listen) to the patient’s lung sounds–especially if the patient is experiencing respiratory distress.
Must-Have #3: The Glucometer
In the event that a patient is diabetic or has an altered level of consciousness, the glucometer must be used to obtain a blood glucose. Per the American Diabetes Association, a fasting blood glucose should range from 70-130 mg/dL.
Must-Have #4: Oxygen and Airway Equipment
Firefighters commonly respond to medical emergencies for patients with respiratory distress. The basic respiratory equipment that should be in the jump bag: oxygen tank (with key), nasal cannulas, non-rebreather masks, oropharyngeal airways, Ambu® Bag, and face mask.
Must-Have #5: Trauma Supplies
To provide basic trauma care, a variety of trauma supplies are needed: trauma shears, sling/swathe, small and large trauma dressings, kling wrap, elastic/compression bandages, adhesive bandages, and cold packs.
Photo Courtesy Jim Moss