It’s that time of year again, when families are traveling for the holidays, kids are loading up on candy and Christmas lights and other decorations are strewn around the house. Though the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, they also come with many health and safety risks. Preparing for common holiday emergencies and equipping your EMS team with optimal airway suctioning devices will help ensure the safety of many individuals and families this season.
In addition to cold and flu season rearing its ugly head again, there are several other health and safety hazards you should prepare for, including fires, choking and car accidents. Each can lead to emergencies that require airway suctioning.
Colds, Flus and Other Respiratory Illnesses
While the common cold can be a regular annoyance to otherwise healthy individuals, for newborns, immunocompromised children and older adults, colds and flus can have very serious consequences. An exacerbation of symptoms during a respiratory illness can lead to excess fluid in the airway and a situation that may require suctioning. Learning to recognize and treat symptoms early on and practice healthy habits, like washing hands frequently, getting vaccinated and avoiding close contact with people who are sick during cold and flu season can slow the spread of infections and, in many cases, save lives.
Choking is another common emergency around holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, as families are feasting on larger meals and enjoying treats that might only come around once a year. For this reason, it’s critical that parents are careful when cutting up children’s food and remain vigilant about choking hazards or allergens. Additionally, parents should not leave children under the age of three unattended during play time, since toys present major choking hazards for young children. Recognizing respiratory distress and airway obstruction in children is essential for quick and effective treatment. Some of the danger signs family members and medical personnel should look for when treating children include abnormal breathing sounds and patterns, loss of consciousness, nasal flaring and use of accessory muscles.
Smoke and fire from cooking, unattended heating devices and poorly placed holiday decorations pose tremendous health risks for individuals and families. The risk of fires can be mitigated by keeping heating devices away from combustible materials, using the appropriate power outlets for decorations and avoiding overloading an electrical circuit with too many decorations in the same location.
Smoke inhalation can also cause severe health consequences for fire survivors, and thus having portable suction equipment on hand will ensure that any swelling and aspiration from smoke is mitigated as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.
The holidays are a time notorious for traffic and bad road conditions, and winter weather only exacerbates those conditions. To prevent injuries and life-threatening emergencies from car accidents, both drivers and passengers should exercise safe driving practices, such as ensuring the proper use of seatbelts and car seats at all times.
Having the Right Tools on Hand
Despite the many precautions individuals take to avoid common holiday emergencies, accidents still happen, and it’s vital that EMS teams are equipped with the right tools to address these crises before they result in fatal consequences.
SSCOR’s S-SCORT® III Portable Suction Unit is a reliable and durable device used by many EMS agencies. The device contains a powerful adjustable vacuum, and its components are encased in protective foam, making it an ideal tool to withstand harsh temperatures and weather conditions during airway management emergencies this holiday season.
The SSCOR VX-2® Portable Suction device, another popular tool for EMS teams, is also a reliable tool to have in your emergency preparedness kit. This device comes in two variations, one with a charging/retention bracket and one with a flat back. The charging bracket allows the device to stay charged and running whenever it’s hooked up to the bracket, and the flat back variation is designed to be placed on a flat surface, using vehicle power for its charge.
For more information on these devices and how they can be used to address emergencies this holiday season, check out the EMS product guide on our website.