• Tue. Sep 27th, 2022

Equipment used by emergency medical services

ByMadeleine J. Pierce

May 20, 2022

This equipment can vary from basic stretchers to complex equipment used in intensive care units and theaters

However, all equipment is collectively important.

The ability to use certain equipment may depend on the qualifications of the paramedic.

It is important to note that electronic equipment used by paramedics must have built-in batteries for use in the pre-hospital environment.


Medical equipment: Jump-bag

This is a bag used to carry most surgical sundries including bandages, drops, syringes etc. which are brought to the client’s side by the paramedic.

The bag which is normally quite large has several pockets, where sundries are stored.

These bags are much more comprehensive than a typical first aid bag and can weigh up to 20 kg with the equipment packed inside.

Read also : Emergency backpacks: how to ensure proper maintenance? Video and tips

Medical tool: bag valve mask

This is a device used to manually deliver rescue breaths to a patient who is not breathing or who is breathing inadequately.

There are several sizes, depending on whether the patient is an adult, a child or a baby.

The device is connected to an oxygen bottle.

The mask is placed over the patient’s face and the device is squeezed by paramedics, allowing oxygen to follow into the patient’s lungs.

Read also : Difference Between AMBU Bag and Emergency Breathing Bag: Advantages and Disadvantages of Two Key Devices

Healthcare Accessories: Suction Unit

A suction unit is used to suction secretions and fluids from a patient’s airway, which can clog the patient’s airway, causing serious respiratory complications.

A sterile catheter is attached, through a surgical tube, to the suction unit which generates suction so that sections can be drawn from the patient’s airway and collected in a container attached to the unit.

Read also : Suction unit for emergency care, the solution in a nutshell: Spencer JET

Medical equipment: Medicine bag

It is a purse-sized bag that is used to carry medications that paramedics may need to administer to clients.

The bags are padded to protect the bulbs in the bags.

Medicines are kept either in individual sachets or under rubber bands.

All paramedics use these bags, but the size, quantity and type of medication carried depends on the paramedics’ qualifications.

Read also : Discovery of equipment and solutions inside an ambulance in Indonesia

Traumatology/spine plank

These are unpadded catty stretchers used to provide rigid support to patients with suspected spinal injuries.

They can be used in conjunction with a “spider harness” and “head blocks” which are used to further secure the patient to the board.

Although they are designed for use with patients with possible spinal injuries, they can be used to transport any patient a short distance.

Read also : Vertebral immobilization, one of the techniques that the rescuer must master


Kendrick extraction device

Also known as a KED, this is a device used to remove road accident victims from motor vehicles.

This semi-rigid splint holds the head, neck and torso in an anatomically neutral position.

This position reduces the possibility of further injury to these areas when extricating from the vehicle.

Read also: KED Extraction Device for Trauma Extraction: What It Is and How to Use It

“C-collar” or cervical collar

A cervical collar, also known as a neck brace, is an adjustable collar that is expertly placed around the neck of patients with suspected head or neck injuries to minimize movement of the head and neck, which could aggravate the injury.

There are several sizes and slightly different brands, but they perform the same function.

Read also : VScervical collar in trauma patients in emergency medicine: when to use it, why it matters


ECG monitor with defibrillator

There are several models available, ranging from basic automated models to advanced multi-parameter monitors.

The most basic models are automated and the paramedic attaches the monitor to the patient and follows the monitor’s voice instructions, while advanced monitors have other patient monitoring equipment built into the monitor.

The primary function of the ECG monitor, however, is to display the patient’s ECG on the built-in display so that it can be monitored by paramedics, and the defibrillator is used to shock cardiac arrhythmias.

It is not used to “start” the heart as shown on television programs, but rather to “stun” cardiac arrhythmias so that the normal electrical impulse from the heart can cause the heart to beat normally.

Read also : Defibrillator: what is it, how does it work, price, voltage, manual and external



Ventilators are medical machines used by advanced paramedics and are designed to mechanically move air into the lungs of a non-breathing or inadequately breathing patient.

There are several parameters that must be adjusted by the attending paramedic, including the ability to change the rate and depth of ventilations given by the ventilator.

An oxygen cylinder is connected to the ventilator to supply oxygen.

Read also : How to Perform Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation


The blood glucose meter will be one of the most well-known devices used by EMS, especially by customers with diabetes.

The hemogulometer or HGT meter is used to check a client’s blood sugar levels.

A small drop of the client’s blood is placed on a disposable strip which is inserted into the monitor and the client’s blood glucose level is assessed and displayed on the monitor screen.

Infusion Pumps and Syringe Drivers

These are devices that control the rate at which an infusion is infused into a patient.

They are used by advanced paramedics, normally when transferring patients between hospitals.

The device controls the amount of liquid from a drip, which normally also contains added medication, that follows the device to the patient.

The flow rate and the amount of fluid delivered by the device are controlled by modifying the parameters of the devices.

Pediatric medical equipment: Incubators

These are used to keep newborn babies warm while being transported in ambulances.

Newborns are placed in the incubator, which provides a warm and safe environment for the newborn and babies are transported inside the incubator during travel, which may be from a pre-hospital scene in hospital, or during an inter-hospital transfer.

Intermediate and advanced paramedics are trained to monitor newborns in an incubator.


The equipment discussed is just a few of the many specialized medical equipment used in EMS.

Although some of them seem basic, they play an important role when paramedics treat patients.

Paramedics receive training in the use of equipment while in school.

Continued use of the equipment, along with ongoing internal and external training and education, ensures that paramedics maintain their proficiency using the equipment.

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