Awhile ago my column Equipment for medical responders at special events was published on EMS1.com. In addition to a list of items that can serve as the base for any provider rendering Event Medical Services, I also briefly touched on the best type of kit for event use.
Space saving in Event Medical equipment bags is important. You do not want your single posted provider’s response delayed due to needlessly bulky or heavy equipment that limits their maneuverability and hinders their ability to reach the patient. For this reason you may go through different bag and different devices in search of the optimal configuration. One of the items I have constantly found taking up too much space is the Bag Valve Mask (BVM).
The problems encountered with a standard BVM for an Event Medical response bag are actually two-fold. The BVM takes up a lot of space with just “air”. Often made of plastic and somewhat malleable, collapsing the BVM to shrink the amount of space it takes up may cause breakage. Traditional BVMs are often stored in their own plastic bag to prevent contamination. While this is a good solution for your average hospital/ambulance environment it leaves the BVM vulnerable to potential damage when being carried in a kit from other objects, people, and just the movement in the field.
I had the opportunity to try out a product called the PocketBVM. This device addresses both the issues that you would typically have with a traditional BVM in an Event Medical setting.
First, the PocketBVM is a compact size. Less than half the size of a tradiional BVM provides responders with much needed additional room, especially for Event Medical Service providers who already have additional equipment to carry. In the case the PocketBVM measures in at 2.5 inches high with a diameter of 5.3 inches. It then fully expands to a length of 8.5 inches with a diameter of 4.8 inches.
Secondly, the PocketBVM comes packed in a hard clamshell case. This protects the device from all the bumps and drops that our kits usually go through, which could very well result in a broken device. This is especially important because although you should perform an inspection at the beginning of your shift, trying to inspect the BVM through the plastic bag packaging does not always reveal any defects or broken pieces. When you actually need the BVM time is crucial and a broken device will only delay the delivery of oxygen to a patient that is undoubtedly in desperate need of it.
Overall I have to say that my time with the PocketBVM was a great experience. While it wasn’t something I needed to use every shift (but managed to remain out of the way from the things I did need), during the shift I did need to use it the performance was flawless. I highly recommend it for anyone in Event Medical Services or need to have a compact trauma kit while enjoying the added protection of the clam case.