By Terry Berringer
No…this is not a credit card commercial. Instead, it’s a question to ask what is inside your AED cabinet.
If “an AED” is your only answer, my response would be another TV commercial tagline:
“But Wait! There’s More!”
AED cabinets are usually placed in areas of prominence and are easily identified and found. But what goes in an AED cabinet? Well, yes, an AED does. But what else can fit in that well-placed cabinet??
How about putting some other gear in there that just may be needed in an emergency, like a bleeding control kit, and an overdose kit, and a BVM?
Bleeding Control Kit
Let’s start with a small bleeding control kit. I have used a nice little Molle pouch (just a cheap one from Amazon) that measures about 8 inches by 5 inches to store all the contents.
It is also important to make sure that you have some type of breakaway seal on the kit to assure the contents have not been disturbed.
I’m not going to go into great anatomy and physiology of hemorrhaging here but just a little about the contents. For now, I will simply list what I believe to be a minimum requirement in a first response bleeding control kit.
The 10 contents of a bleeding control kit and their uses include:
* Three pairs of large medical gloves, because two is good, three is better
* One SAM XT Extremity Tourniquet. I realize that saying you have a favorite tourniquet will get a ton of keyboard warriors flexing their fingers, but I feel that the SAM XT tourniquet is the most user-friendly tourniquet on the market. If you’re not excited about The Sam XT, I would encourage you to make sure that whatever tourniquet that you do go with is approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC).
* One packet of Celox 3”x5’ Z-fold Hemostatic gauze or compatible. This package of Celox is 3 inches by five feet and is z-folded so it lays flatter in storage.
* Two Kerlex Gauze Rolls for wound packing as well as can be used as bandages over dressings
* Two Multi-Trauma ABD Dressing or comparable trauma dressings
* Two 4-inch Velcro Elastic Bandages to be used as bandages as well as somewhat pressure dressings.
* One pair 7-inch Trauma Shears, two pair if possible. (Redundancy is always a good thing if room allows.)
* One Sharpie permanent marker if you’re the “must write the time of tourniquet application” type. I am not a huge proponent of writing the time of tourniquet application. Yes, I do know why, so don’t email me! I’m just not convinced that there are places that if a tourniquet is applied, that the patient will not be in an Emergency Department within six hours. Plus, most markers almost always dry out over time.
* One Emergency Medical Blanket to prevent shock and hypothermia. These “foil” blankets take up very little space and can be included little concern for space.
* The last item is not in the kit but between your ears! Get training in bleeding control! If someone hands you a tourniquet, you need to know how to apply it.
Next in line for space rental in the AED cabinet is an overdose kit.
This kit includes a dose of Narcan, otherwise known by its generic name of Naloxone. This is a Narcotic antagonist and is used to treat many types of drug overdoses. It is sprayed via an applicator into the nostrils of the nose of someone suspected of overdosing.
Many say that they will never have the need for this treatment, but those are the ones most often in need of it. Never say never! If your organization is used by anyone in the community or outside support groups, then this is an absolute must-have for your AED cabinet.
Bag Valve Mask (BVM)
The third piece of equipment that should be kept in an AED cabinet if space allows is a Bag Valve Mask. Otherwise known as a BVM.
With the pandemic going strong for now, and the real desire to never ever exchange fluids with a complete stranger, a BVM is a must.
Hands-only CPR only works so well. The oxygenated blood that you are pumping with hands only CPR only lasts a few minutes. After that, you need to reoxygenate that blood.
So, with the ideas presented above, I will ask again: What’s in your AED cabinet?
Terry Berringer is the owner operator of Church Emergency Consulting in Pittsburgh, www.churchemergency.com.