By Tessa Roy

An ambulance needs more than just a crew in order to help patients. Without our supplies, we would be very limited in what we could for our patients during our transports to the hospital. All of our equipment is stored neatly and checked at the start of every shift, and equipment used during a call is replaced when the ambulance returns to quarters. At Essex Rescue, we are dedicated to providing the best patient care possible, and keeping our ambulances organized and well stocked is essential to that goal.

I interviewed John Keating, an Advanced EMT with Essex Rescue who also runs with St. Michael’s College Fire and Rescue and Milton Rescue. John emphasized the importance of keeping the ambulance organized and making sure that everything is in its proper place, saying “When seconds matter, I need to be able to quickly reach the equipment I require.” I asked him what he viewed as being the most important equipment on our ambulance.

“I would say that our crews and their training and knowledge are the most important things on the ambulance, but after that I would have to say our Lifepak 15 cardiac monitors are absolutely vital,” he said. “They’re like having an extra set of hands on the ambulance. I honestly don’t know what ambulance crews did before we started carrying the Lifepaks.”

Our Lifepak 15 cardiac monitor is certainly the most high-tech piece of equipment we carry, and John is spot on when he says it’s like having an extra set of hands. The monitor can take a patient’s blood pressure, monitor their heart rate and rhythm, blood oxygen levels, carbon dioxide output, transmit all of that information to our reporting system as well as the hospital emergency department, and it’s also a defibrillator. The monitor is invaluable when the crew has their hands full with other procedures, such as securing an airway or placing an IV, or when the back of the ambulance is simply too loud for us to hear and obtain an accurate blood pressure reading.

Not everything we carry on the ambulance must be high-tech to be useful, though. Our Stryker Stair Pro, for example, is one of our most versatile ways for moving patients, and its simple design and ease of use makes it a favorite among EMTs. Imagine the treads of a military tank, just much smaller and attached to chair, and voila you have the Stryker Stair Pro, or stair chair, as we call it. The track system allows us to move the patient down the stairs without lifting. We simply have one EMT holding the handles by the patient’s feet, another at their head, and then we lean the chair back about 45 degrees and the tracks allow us to safely navigate down the stairs. This helps us avoid back injuries from lifting, and the built-in descent control on the tracks keeps the chair moving at a safe pace. The chair can be pushed on it’s wheels if its in its upright position, and that makes it useful for moving a patient down a narrow hallway or through narrow doorways where our stretcher would be too wide. It’s also a great way to move patients who are having trouble breathing and don’t want to lay flat while being carried to the ambulance.

No matter what the emergency, rest assured that we carry the equipment to deal with it. From your run of the mill bandages to our high tech cardiac monitors, our crews have the training and equipment they need to provide high quality patient care.

We’re always looking for devoted members of the community to join our efforts so if you’re interested in being an EMT or a driver with Essex Rescue please contact Joe Congdon at 878-4859 ext 7.