Columns, Equipment & Gear

Hands On Product Reviews December 2016

Issue 12 and Volume 41.

Pocket Toolbox

Every shift comes with its own challenges, large and small. Sometimes it’s the small challenges that are the most annoying: Where’s the oxygen wrench? Why did my trauma shears have to break now? The new Skeletool RX from Leatherman was designed with EMS in mind and provides a number of backup tools you can keep in your pocket or on your belt. The regular and needle-nose pliers come in handy for opening the stubborn oxygen bottle or in place of that lost O2 wrench. The deeply serrated, long stainless steel blade expedites clothing removal. A carbide tip on the large bit driver can help you gain entry through the tempered glass of a car window while the standard and Phillips bits allow you to tighten that loose screw that just started rattling. The carabineer clip also doubles as a bottle opener for the end of that challenging shift.

Skeletool RX from Leatherman

Closed length 4″
Blade length: 2.6″
Weight: 5 oz.
Color: Orange
Price: $89.85

Effective CPR on Bariatric Patients

Performing high-quality CPR is hard work. It’s even more difficult if your patient has a significantly greater mass than you do. It’s simple physics: The greater the mass, the greater the force required to move it. With a bariatric patient, you also have the issues created by the larger body habitus that make compression of the heart between the sternum and spine more difficult. The new BariBoard from Iron Duck helps rescuers deliver more effective compressions during cardiac arrest on bariatric patients (i.e., weighing greater than 275 lbs.) by supporting the spine and decreasing surface area. The dual plane supports the torso and spine during chest compressions and also cradles the additional body mass.

BariBoard from Iron Duck

Dimensions: 27″ x 18.5″ x 2.25″
Weight: 6 lbs.
Price: $152.95

Earbuds, Not Ear Pieces

The stethoscope is a crucial assessment tool for determining lung, heart and bowel sounds in addition to taking blood pressure. Amplification is a must, especially given the ambient noise of an ambulance. The new Thinklabs One digital stethoscope from Thinklabs Medical uses an electromagnetic diaphragm to amplify sounds across the auditory spectrum and transmit via earbuds or headphones. The audio frequency can be filtered for increased base or treble response to enhance your assessment findings. The length of the stethoscope cable can be easily extended, enabling use while wearing a higher level of personal protective equipment during a mass decontamination event. The Thinklink app also allows you to record and share sounds on your iOS or Android devices.

Thinklabs One digital stethoscope

Dimensions: 1.1″ x 1.8″
Amplification: 100 times
Frequency range: 10–5,000 Hz
Power: Rechargeable
Price: $499.00

A Portable Office

Despite the promises of technology, we’re still struggling to go completely paperless. Many EMS systems still rely on good, old-fashioned paper and stock a variety of forms, including billing, patient handoff, patient refusal, post mortem checklists and mass casualty tracking. Keeping this many forms organized in a clipboard often leads to shuffling of papers and inefficiencies on scene. The new Fahrtenbuch (Logbook) Multi-Organizer from PAX attaches a well-designed and highly organized binder behind a removable aluminum clipboard. There are a number of pockets to organize your documents; binder rings to hold preplans, maps or other resources; pen and pencil pockets; slots for business cards; and a key clip. A variety of available colors means you can keep separate logbooks for mass casualties, evacuation and field hospital applications.

Fahrtenbuch (Logbook) Multi-Organizer from PAX

Dimensions: 15.3″ x 11″ x 2.75″
Weight: 2.8 lbs.
Colors: Black, dark blue, red, orange, bright yellow
Price: $68.50

Your Choice: Low Vis or High Vis?

Long gone are the days of EMS workers with bare hands covered in blood or only wearing gloves for delivering a baby. Now we wear exam gloves for almost every patient contact. The new Black-Fire Nitrile Exam Gloves from Halyard Health are multilayer gloves that can be worn with the black or the orange side out and provide a clearly visible indicator if they’re torn. The nitrile exam gloves are powder- and latex-free. Textured fingertips provide an excellent grip and make it easier to pick up small items. Since the gloves are reversible, you can wear the black side out for low visibility situations and the orange side out when you respond to a nighttime motor vehicle crash or in other situations where your hands need to be seen.

Black-Fire Nitrile Exam Gloves from Halyard Health

Sizes: XS–XL
Colors: Reversible black/orange
Length: 9.5″
Price: About $22.00 for 150/box

Red, White & Glow

Have you ever been dispatched in the middle of a bright, sunny day only to find your patient in a poorly lit basement and have to return to your vehicle for a flashlight? We all carry flashlights, but we should make sure to carry one on every call. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a flashlight small enough to keep in your first-in bag that could provide enough light to render care and also double as an emergency flashing beacon when needed? The new Scout Glow from FoxFury is a pocket-sized utility light with a glow-in-the-dark case and white and red LEDs. This waterproof and impact-resistant light has a phosphorescent exterior that makes it easy to find in your bag and has four modes: white, red, both red and white, and flashing red and white.

 Scout Glow from FoxFury

Dimensions: 2″ x 0.9″ x 3.7″
Weight: 5.4 oz.
Max light output: 65 lumens
Power: 3 AAA batteries
Price: $48.99