The Worst Thing to Leave out of Your Trauma Bag

As a paramedic, you know how important a well-provisioned trauma bag can be. A fully stocked trauma bag enables you to begin treatment immediately, no matter the illness or injury. Bleeding can be controlled with trauma dressings and tourniquets, CPR can be initiated with a bag-valve device, and pneumothoraces can be decompressed with a kit or a well-placed catheter. A good trauma bag is essential.

What you put in your trauma bag depends on several factors. State and local policies, along with departmental guidelines, may dictate your bag’s contents but should be based on the type of system within which you work. A rural service with limited personnel would benefit from more inclusive trauma bags so that lifesaving equipment is right at hand. If you work in rugged terrain, weight may play a factor when planning your bag. Each department must stock its trauma bags based on its particular needs.

But there’s one item you may not have considered adding to your bag: a portable suction unit.


Portable suction units have come a long way. No longer are they the clunky, heavy contraptions of the past. Today’s units are lightweight, efficient, and powerful, enabling responders to provide lifesaving interventions to those in respiratory distress.



FREE Download: The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction  Device



And now there are even units small enough to fit in a trauma bag.

Think of the benefits of having a portable suction unit in your trauma bag. Now when you approach that bleeding trauma patient or begin working that code, you’ll have at your disposal a suction unit that can clear the airway of either patient. No more running back to the truck or trying in vain to visualize the cords. For patients with oral secretions, be they blood, vomit, or sputum, nothing can take the place of effective suctioning.


And for rescuers who cover open terrain, such as trails and slopes, having a suction unit tucked into your trauma bag can save you from toting a larger unit along with all your other gear. Every pound counts when you’re forced to hike to your patient.

So, when you’re putting together your trauma bag wish list, be sure to include a portable suction unit. Considering the critical role it plays in clearing tenuous airways, a suction unit is the worst thing to exclude from your bag.

Click here to download our free guide, Determining the Contents of Your First-In Bag.