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Mican

What gear to own, I'm new.

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Good Morning,

I'm starting EMT school. I've joined a volunteer fire department, I'm a just retired 54 old former executive who wants to start doing something that really matters for my community. It's a busy station and like yours; cash poor, so each medic buy's a lot of thier own stuff.

I've been working out for a year; running & lifting, so I will not be a burden to the team. So; where do I start with personal gear.

For example:

What would you spend $$ for personal equipment to own?

What type of bag should I really carry v. what the salesguy tells me to carry.

Footwear & Pants, what holds up, comfortable, and is what you wear?

What should I start with and what web-sites do you think sell quality and what are the quality gear companies?

What questions should I ask?

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If it's a busy station, and they're poor - they're doing something wrong. Bill those taxpayers. That's what they're there for!

First. Welcome to the city. Second EMT/Medic, not the same thing, on the fence over whether it's okay to call ones-self the other.

Third.. Good on you for making a positive impact.

What would you spend $$ for personal equipment to own?

I would buy a CPR mask, a small/simple first aid pouch and a box of whatever size gloves fit you. That's all. It may cost you around $35. We're training a shit load of newbies, we're not strapped for cash, but that's all they're getting. Then after you become certified, maybe replace the CPR mask with a BVM. Why? You'll find out the first time you use the mask on a real patient, if you ever do.

What type of bag should I really carry v. what the salesguy tells me to carry.

I have yet to find a salesman pitching for a trauma bag, in person. When they see a wanker, they butter you up to squeeze the most money out of you by reinforcing your thoughts and/or fears. I would just buy a generic pouch type deal from your local chain retail store's luggage department. Put stuff in it, from their health & beauty section. Some kerlix, some conforming gauze rolls, 4x4's, some tape.. the gloves.. small note pad and a pen.

Footwear & Pants, what holds up, comfortable, and is what you wear?

Any sort of comfy work boots, or shoes - doesn't matter, I usually wear sneakers and jeans. Everyone has their own style of tactical emt pants.

What should I start with and what web-sites do you think sell quality and what are the quality gear companies?

Go right over to your neighborhood Wally World or chain drug store, and you can get everything you need. Add on a good watch, and maybe a "Nurse Scope". Best starter scope possible, and it costs like $6 maybe.

Edited by 1 C

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Good Morning,

I'm starting EMT school. I've joined a volunteer fire department, I'm a just retired 54 old former executive who wants to start doing something that really matters for my community.

Welcome.

It's a busy station and like yours; cash poor, so each medic buy's a lot of thier own stuff...

What questions should I ask?

You'll forgive me for changing the order of your question. However, your last question is probably the best question to answer first. One of the big questions you should ask is why, if they're so busy, are they so cash poor? I'll second 1 C's idea that if your station is busy and poor then there is most likely something wrong with how they operate on a business level. You can do more for them in that regard by bringing your prior executive experience to the table.

I've been working out for a year; running & lifting, so I will not be a burden to the team.

This shouldn't be so much that you aren't a burden to your team. This should be to help prevent injury to you, particularly your back. Back injuries are huge in this industry. A healthy diet and exercise program is likely to do more for you in the long run in terms of both overall health AND longevity in the business.

So; where do I start with personal gear.

For example:

What would you spend $$ for personal equipment to own?

Not a dime.

I've never worked in a station, volly, combo or fully paid, rural farm country to sub-/urban environments, where the EMTs or paramedics bought their own gear for use while on duty. Anything you should need should be on the ambulance. If your squad is not providing this material then you need to either ask why or distance yourself from them immediately and find another place to work.

What type of bag should I really carry v. what the salesguy tells me to carry.

My previous answer goes applies here, too.

Now, if this is something you *want* versus something you *need* then buy whatever you want. However, if you *need* to buy this stuff then your squad is in serious need of help. There is also the potential to increase your own liability if you start using your own, privately purchased items on a patient while acting as an official representative of your squad.

Footwear & Pants, what holds up, comfortable, and is what you wear?

Does your squad not have a uniform requirement? This will help determine what you will need. Some places are strict. Others aren't. The other members at the station can give you an idea of where to obtain the needed clothing items. There may be local sources to be considered.

What should I start with and what web-sites do you think sell quality and what are the quality gear companies?

The only website you need for EMS related items at the moment is this one. As a new EMT trainee having the resources available to you through the members of this site will prove to be invaluable. We have people from students like yourself to e-med physicians who post here. We have people from all over the world contributing to this site. Yes, being new to the industry brings with it the desire to look the part. Knowing what you're doing and acting the part intelligently is also important. This site can help with the latter.

So, welcome again and stick around.

All the best.

edit: spacing errors; no content changed.

Edited by paramedicmike

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Hey Mican,

Good on you for moving into community service through EMS. I Started EMT after 40 ans love it.

My service has very few supplies as well so I have built a kit I carry all the time. Take in account I have been doing this for a couple of years and have built my kit over time. I would suggest you start small and grow into the equipment you find you need and use the most. I am going to open my kit and list everything in it. It all fits in a Attache case that my wife calls my 'bathroom bag".

2 Tampax

4 Kotex

4 tongue depressors

I Dermabond wound closure

1 IV Ligature

4 NPA varied sizes

1 dactilar pulse oximeter

1 Pocket Mask

1 trauma Shears

1 Pocket Knife

3 roll tape

2 haemostats

1 quick reference guide ( home made)

1 baumanometer and stethoscope

1 set OPA

1 bottle iodine

6 alcohol swabs

1 xilocaine gel 5%

1 salbutamol inhaler

1 otic thermometer

1 glucometer with strips

1 glicose gel 15g

1 roll glucose tablets

3 elastic bandages

25 4x4 gauze

1 tetracaine drops

Contrary to Mike I live in a third world environment so although all this stuff may not be absolutely necessary it is the kit I carry in my truck for personal use as well as on the job. This is cool because you get to see both ends of equipping and see where you fit in.

I also agree you can most likely help most with your business experience.

I had not inventoried in some time and am surprised at the stuff I have accumulated. I feel like such a whacker.

I do not have a scanner or lights on my truck, what a relief!

Start with the pocket mask and your protocols will show you the path to things you use the most and your service does not have.

Welcome to the city!

Edited by DFIB

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You might need some stuff for school if you get a school with absolutely nothing x.x but they would tell you. At mine we were required to buy lots of crap because they didn't feel like buying stuff. :/ but unless they tell you otherwise, keep it to the simple stuff like they mentioned :)

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Contrary to Mike I live in a third world environment so although all this stuff may not be absolutely necessary it is the kit I carry in my truck for personal use as well as on the job. This is cool because you get to see both ends of equipping and see where you fit in.

This is a good point as we don't know the OP's location.

edit: brain dead.

Edited by paramedicmike

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Thank you very much for the quick replies to my questions.

However, I should clarify my earlier statement "busy station and like yours, cash poor” I did not mean to imply I am being asked to buy my own gear. The station ambulances / rigs are very well supplied, they are just very frugal with dollars. Several EMTs said I might want to buy my own Stethoscope, CPR mask, and shears, bandage cutters, etc.

When I was at my first EMT class, I was amazed at the gear some of the other students brought with them. I thought to myself; “how do they run up stairs with all that stuff?”

One of the senior guys at the station recommended this site and said a great place to start to learn. So I’m running with his suggestion.

So I’ll ask an additional 2 question’s to my earlier one:

What do you guys want to see from a new guy and what should I avoid?

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Thank you very much for the quick replies to my questions.

However, I should clarify my earlier statement "busy station and like yours, cash poor” I did not mean to imply I am being asked to buy my own gear. The station ambulances / rigs are very well supplied, they are just very frugal with dollars. Several EMTs said I might want to buy my own Stethoscope, CPR mask, and shears, bandage cutters, etc.

Ah! This is vastly different from the question you originally asked and changes the dynamic of potential answers. Thanks for clarifying.

There's a lot of truth to the idea that EMS squads are frugal. The more involved you become with the business the more you'll learn why.

Owning your own stethoscope is not an uncommon practice. I own a stethoscope. Well, ok. I own three. However, they were either gifts or purchased as a required piece of equipment for grad school. Every ambulance I've ever worked on, though, both ground and air based, has had a stethoscope available for provider use.

A CPR mask and trauma shears are at your discretion. If you've not yet taken a CPR class you'll learn that the emphasis is moving away from rescue breathing and more to good quality compressions. I've been given a couple CPR masks over the course of my career. I've never used any of them. Not once.

If you want to buy trauma shears start with the cheap ones. No sense dumping a lot of money into things now while you're still a student. As you learn and become more comfortable with what you'll actually be doing or routinely need while on duty you can then add to your quiver.

There is little harm in waiting until you're out of class and working on your own to determine if you want or would find it helpful to buy certain items for yourself.

The short answer is that they don't. These guys are called "whackers" or "wankers" depending on your location. You do not want to be one of them.

The bigger question is how often they actually use all the crap they carry. There's an old adage to the effect of "you can tell how new someone is to EMS by how much stuff they have on their belt". The more they carry the newer they are. I think you'll find that the longer you're in the business the less you'll find you actually need to carry with you.

So I’ll ask an additional 2 question’s to my earlier one:

What do you guys want to see from a new guy and what should I avoid?

What do I want from a new guy? I want someone who's responsible, mature and inquisitive. I want someone who asks questions and knows when it's appropriate to ask them. I want someone who is willing to jump in and help. I want someone who is self motivated. I want someone who is committed to continuing his/her education. I want someone who is constantly striving to improve both knowledge base and skill competency. I want someone who is caring, compassionate and willing to advocate for the patient. I want someone who is willing to admit his/her limitations, say "I don't know" if he/she doesn't know, and is willing to go find the answer .

I do not want someone who is lazy. I don't want someone who thinks they don't have to learn anything new. I don't want someone who isn't a team player. I don't want someone who is doing the job because s/he gets to play with the lights and sirens and drive fast. I don't want someone who will throw his/her partner or coworkers under the bus to get ahead.

What should you avoid? Whackers. Burned out providers. Dinner that's been left on the table for hours because you got called out in the middle of eating (unless you're cleaning up... just don't eat it). Avoid falling into the trap of complacency.

Hope this helps.

edit: Attempted to change the formatting but it won't take. Not sure what's up with that.

Edited by paramedicmike

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Buy a good stethoscope, cpr mask? maybe, I have one I always carry in the car. The only bag I carry in is the one in the ambulance, which contains all the essentials, o2, bp cuffs, pulseox meter, bgl meter, also it contains c collars etc.

Be willing to observe and learn. all that paramedicmike said above. I have been an EMT for a number of years now, and now that I am approaching my 62 year, I find I am still wanting and willing to learn more, because I don't know everything and never will.

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My suggestions are:

Buy a "quality" stethoscope. Not the $15 pair, not the $200 pair, something in between. A Littman master Cardiology is not nesessary. But a cheap Sprague will not last mkore than a few calls.

Purchase German shears. They look like the $5 cheapies but actually cost like $15. They are autoclavable, or downright disposable. Say what you will about us germans, but we know what will cut a pair of jeans.

I also carry my own safety glasses. But that is just because Oakley Flak look fukin awesome and make me a better Paramedic. I am sure they will supply dome dollar store knockoffs that will work just fine.

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