Making the “state of readiness” of EMS gear obvious

Making the “state of readiness” of EMS gear obvious

In our world, you never know when it will be critical for someone to instantly know whether a piece of equipment or inventory is ready for action.  So you should always leave prominent visual clues if there could be any ambiguity.


If you found the following vials, plastic tray, and paperwork all tucked neatly into the box, wouldn’t you think you’d be able to use this medicine on a patient who is critically hypoglycemic?  Yes, you would.



And you’d be wrong, because the above vials are actually empty and therefore useless.  They’d already been used on a patient, but someone re-assembled the pieces, put the GlucaGen box back in the drug box, and turned the drug box in to the pharmacy.  Fortunately, a sharp pharmacy tech discovered the problem.


If you have to carry these items away from the scene, you should not put the pieces back together.


And now a pet peeve item:  Let’s say you discover that the below ambulance won’t start, and you can’t find one of those OUT OF SERVICE signs.  Do you just report the problem and leave the vehicle the way it is?  What will other people think about its state of readiness?



How about putting the hood up?  Will people think it’s ready to go then?  (In fact, I’d do this in addition to putting up one of the OUT OF SERVICE signs.)


Please be considerate of those who follow you.  Make the “state of readiness” of EMS gear obvious.  Thanks.


— Division Chief Kevin Lipscomb, NRP

— Regulation & Support Services

— Va Beach EMS Department

“EMS Chief 7” (ECH07)