As an EMS professional, you know much of your job is spent maintaining your equipment. Trucks must be kept in good working order, supplies must be stocked, and medications must be in-date. Your equipment is of no use if it is not functional, and it's your responsibility to ensure everything is up to snuff.
So, when it comes to your portable aspirator, you want one that requires the least maintenance. But how do you differentiate a high-maintenance unit from a more dependable version? Here are a few key indicators:
EMS is a punishing environment. Emergency scenes can occur anywhere, regardless of weather, temperature, terrain, or safety. From extrications on busy roadways to cardiac arrests at the local public pool, your equipment must be able to withstand the rigors of emergency response. When it comes to your portable aspirator, make sure it is composed of strong materials, that its inner electronics are protected by a tough exterior, and that it will perform under any conditions, be they rain, wind, or ice.
Ease of Use
Emergency scenes not only occur anyplace, but they also occur at any time. Which is why you need a portable aspirator that is easy to use, even in the dark. The unit should have large, easy-to-read knobs, with easy-grip handles and a lightweight design. You shouldn't have to fumble blindly to control the suction pressure. The unit should have clearly visible settings that allow easy adjustments.
No two patients are alike. And those requiring suction come in many forms. Whether it's a trauma patient with copious bleeding, a cardiac arrest following a hearty meal, or a stroke patient who can't clear his or her productive cough, you need a portable aspirator that has adjustable settings to accommodate any patient, as well as a variety of catheters to meet any bodily substance situation. Some situations will require more than a typical suction catheter, so keep an array on hand to avoid clogs.
It's All About Power
Powering your portable aspirator is crucial. It can't work if the batteries are dead. You may want to consider alternative power sources, like replaceable alkaline or a unit that can run off of defibrillator batteries.
In the busy field of emergency medicine, you want equipment you can rely on. So, choose a portable aspirator that is dependable and easy to maintain—one that will never let you down.